MEPs call on Germany’s Merkel to halt Nord Stream 2 gas project

Several dozen MEPs from different European countries have appealed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to halt the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which is opposed by Poland.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: EPA/CLEMENS BILANGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

In a joint open letter, the MEPs said that “Germany’s position on Nord Stream 2 runs counter to the goals of the European Energy Union.”

The 1,200-kilometre Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, is expected to supply around 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, circumventing Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine.

The Eurodeputies said in their letter — as posted by one of the signatories, German MEP Rebecca Harms, on her website — that Nord Stream 2 “gives Russia additional strategic leverage over the EU because it increases the EU’s energy dependency” on that country.

A ‘divider’ in the EU

According to the MEPs, Germany, “by holding on to Nord Stream 2, would continue to act as a divider” in the EU and to “act against the will of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the majority of the Council of the European Union.”

The letter also says that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is being developed at full speed despite concerns voiced from many of Germany’s European neighbours and from European institutions.

According to the MEPs, Merkel’s government “is allowing a major rift between EU member countries to fester at a time when the EU needs cohesion more than ever before.”

“Europe cannot afford this. Nor can Germany,” the MEPs warn in their letter.

“Whatever the reasons behind Russia’s efforts to build Nord Stream 2, one thing is clear: Russia is not building this pipeline alone. Several European companies are cooperating with Gazprom for the project,” the MEPs argue. “But even more importantly, Nord Stream 2 would not be built without the consistent support that your governments, Madam Chancellor, have lent to it for many years.”

‘Significant impacts’ beyond energy policy

According to the Eurodeputies, by engaging in the construction of the gas pipeline, Germany is automatically reducing its own energy independence, while “the impact on the energy security of the EU would also be negative, with significant impacts beyond the realm of energy policy.”

By pursuing the project, “Germany is ignoring the security concerns that countries around the Baltic, NATO and the United States of America have been warning against,” according to the MEPs.

“Germany’s own security is obviously intimately connected to that of its neighbours and partners,” the letter reads.

The Eurodeputies urged Merkel that her “government reconsiders and changes its policy” on the Nord Stream 2 project.

They appeal in their letter: “Stop blocking the work on the Gas Directive. Support the course set by the European Commission and the European Parliament. Let Russia’s President know that Germany will stand by its EU partners and by Ukraine.”

The MEPs also argue that the benefits of Nord Stream 2 “would go to the Kremlin, to Gazprom and, maybe, to a few Western companies.”

Meanwhile, the “heavy political cost for completing Nord Stream 2 would fall on Germany’s shoulders,” they said.

They added: “Is that in Germany’s interest? Does Germany live up to its European responsibility by putting some very particular interests above our shared European interest?”

The MEPs conclude that Germany, “by acting short-sightedly, would undermine the solidarity principle within the EU. That is the very principle on which the EU must be based, if it is to be successful.

“Your government is not following the right priorities, Madam Chancellor. Please, do change course!”

Cutting across party lines

Several dozen members of the European Parliament from various political groups and different countries as well as members of national parliaments have signed the letter, Poland’s niezalezna.pl website reported.

The signatories include a group of Polish MEPs, both those representing the country’s ruling conservatives and those hailing from the opposition at home.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said last month that the construction of a new Russia-Germany gas pipeline despite a lack of approval from all European Union members showed a lack of solidarity within the bloc.

US President Donald Trump in July hit out at Germany for supporting the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, despite opposition from some other European countries, including Poland.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said that Nord Stream 2 is “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the European Union and NATO.

The Financial Times said in an editorial in August that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was against Europe’s interests and that the EU should take steps to halt the project because it contradicted its strategy of diversifying gas sources and reducing reliance on Russia.

(gs/pk)

Source: niezalezna.pl, rebecca-harms.de

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