The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will annually deliver around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas to the EU once it is completed later in 2019. Russia has repeatedly warned against politicising the project and these calls have been echoed by a number of EU politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In an interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) news agency, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the new leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), underscored her support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
She said that no matter what, “we stand by this project”, adding that in terms of the country’s energy mix, gas is of great importance to Germany given its decision to abandon using coal and nuclear power.
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At the same time, Kramp-Karrenbauer recalled that some countries, including Poland and Ukraine, remain concerned over Nord Stream 2 and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying hard to ensure that energy security guarantees for Kiev are respected.
Kramp-Karrenbauer’s remarks come a few days after Manuela Schwesig, minister-president of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, slammed a recent statement by European People’s Party leader Manfred Weber, a German-born candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, that he would do his best to block the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if he is finally nominated for the new job.
When asked about his position on Nord Stream 2, Weber told the Polska Times newspaper that he is up in arms against this project, which he claimed is “not in the interests of the EU because it will increase dependence on Russian energy resources”.
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Speaking to the German ZDF channel, Schwesig, for his part, urged Weber to stop “playing with the country’s future”, adding that he finds it very strange that Weber decided to let Germany know that he opposes the project, “which we have been supporting for many years, via some Polish newspaper”.
Germany has been facing pressure from the US and some EU member states over its support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Washington, in particular, repeatedly threatened to impose sanctions on all parties related to or working on the project.
Washington has warned that Germany’s overreliance on Russian energy could be costly, with President Donald Trump accusing Germany of being a “captive” of Russia and urging Berlin to halt its cooperation on the $11 billion venture.
READ MORE: US Pushing Own Interests in EU When Blasting Nord Stream 2 — Bavaria Minister
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, has suggested that Trump is seeking to force Russia out of the European energy market so the US could sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell. The project envisions the construction of a second gas pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea between north-western Russia and north-eastern Germany.