BERLIN (Sputnik) – The US criticism of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline derives from the fact that the project’s implementation runs counter to Washington’s interests in promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries to Europe, Dirk Wiese, the German government’s coordinator for cooperation with Russia, has stated.
“I am surprised to hear the criticism [of the Nord Stream 2 project] by the United States and its embassy [in Germany], but it should be mentioned that the United States holds interest in this discussion. It explicitly incorporated a requirement to promote LNG into its sanctions policy, it should be remembered”, Wiese told Germany’s ARD broadcaster.
Wiese stressed that Berlin’s plans to abandon nuclear energy and coal as sources of electricity generation made Berlin dependent on gas deliveries during the transition period on its way to a green economy based on renewable energy sources.
“In 2038, we will abandon coal, we will also abandon nuclear [energy]. We need 100 percent power supply, we need natural gas for the transitional period. Russia has always been a reliable supplier and remains as such. That is why we support the Nord Stream 2”, Wiese underlined.
The gas pipeline once again came into the spotlight after US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell sent letters to a number of German companies earlier in January, hinting that they might be subject to the US sanctions for their support for the Nord Stream 2 project. According to German media reports, the country’s Foreign Ministry considered the step as a provocation and urged the companies to ignore those threats.
Earlier in January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany would continue to buy Russian gas, adding that Berlin will, at the same time, seek to diversify gas imports, purchasing it from the United States and other countries.
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The United States has expressed its opposition to the Nord Stream 2 project on numerous occasions, claiming that it was the means of political control used by Russia to exert pressure on the European Union. Washington has made a number of attempts to impede the implementation of the project and even incorporated a provision for counteracting the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, signed by US President Donald Trump in 2017.
The Russian authorities, in turn, argued that the US attitude toward the Nord Stream 2 project was explained by the desire to promote Washington’s economic and energy interests in Europe and rejected the idea that the project might be political in its nature.
The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction of two gas pipelines that will run from Russia, through the Baltic Sea and to a hub in Germany, bypassing Ukraine entirely. The project is a joint venture of the Russian Gazprom energy giant with French Engie, Austrian OMV AG, UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and German Uniper and Wintershall.
Over 70% of Germans Support Construction of Nord Stream 2 — Poll
Over 70 percent of German citizens support the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will deliver Russian gas to the European Union across the Baltic Sea, German oil and gas producer Wintershall, a participant in the project, said in a statement on Thursday, citing a poll conducted by German broadcasters.
“Even after sanction threats from [US President] Donald Trump against the construction of the pipeline, 73 percent of all German citizens think it’s the right decision, as a survey carried out by the broadcasters RTL and N-TV showed. Only 16 percent of Germans think the second natural gas pipeline should be dispensed with”, Wintershall said.
While 20 percent of Germans shared Trump’s stance that the pipeline could jeopardize European security due to increased dependence on Russian gas, 67 percent considered this view to be unfounded.
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Meanwhile, 90 percent of Germans believed that Trump’s opposition to Nord Stream 2 comes from his desire to sell more US liquefied natural gas to Europe.
“German citizens are extremely skeptical about the latest threats of penalties and sanctions by the US Ambassador Grenell. The citizens (91 percent) almost unanimously share the view that this is not the task of an Ambassador”, Wintershall added citing the poll.
The survey was carried out between January 17 and January 18 among 1,004 people.