Nord Stream 2 is ‘anti-European project,’ ‘lever of Putin’s geopolitical influence’: German MEP

A German Eurodeputy has said that Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe is an „anti-European project” and a „lever of Putin’s geopolitical influence.”

Pipes for the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline lie in storage at the German port of Mukran at the end of last year.

Pipes for the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline lie in storage at the German port of Mukran at the end of last year.Photo: PAP/Stefan Sauer/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

Viola von Cramon, a MEP with the German Green Party, told Poland’s PAP news agency in an interview that she was outraged over the resumption of work to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is opposed by Poland and a number of other countries, the energetyka24.com website reported.

„What’s happening around Nord Stream 2 in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is nothing short of political corruption,” she said, referring to a plan unveiled by officials in the northeastern German state for a foundation controlled by Russian gas giant Gazprom and aiming to protect companies involved in the project against US sanctions, the PAP news agency reported.

Von Cramon, who was described by PAP as a leading German expert on Russia, argued in the interview that “the Russians are trying to influence Germany through a number of different channels, means and methods,” some of them hidden from public view.Viola von Cramon.Viola von Cramon. Photo: PAP/DPA/INGA KJER

“I cannot understand how it’s possible that a foundation has been established with the help of Gazprom money that supposedly aims to protect the environment and promote the construction of this unnecessary pipeline, which is primarily a lever of Putin’s geopolitical influence,” von Cramon also said, according to PAP.

She was quoted as saying that Nord Stream 2 was “an absolute geopolitical disaster” and a project that should have people taking to the streets in protest.

“I would like Poland and other countries to raise an uproar because it’s a real disgrace,” she said, according to PAP.

’Anti-European’ 

“I agree with those who say the project is anti-European and I wouldn’t mind if Joe Biden went ahead with sanctions,” she told the Polish state news agency, energetyka24.com reported.

Von Cramon also said, according to PAP: “On the one hand, we are talking about withdrawing from fossil fuels… on the other, we accept the continued construction of a gas pipeline that is an instrument of the Kremlin’s influence, [especially as] we know that Moscow is responsible for all those hybrid conflicts and hacker attacks in recent years.”

The prime minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Manuela Schwesig, announced last week that her federal state would create its own Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation to support the construction of the disputed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the PAP news agency reported.

It said Russia’s Gazprom would be able to influence key personnel decisions under the foundation’s articles of association.

Meanwhile, a key Norwegian company has abandoned the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 project under the threat of new US sanctions, according to media reports.

The United States has urged European allies and private firms to halt work that could help build the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as it readies new sanctions on the project, according to a report by the energetyka24.com website last month.

The Reuters news agency reported at the end of December that the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump was preparing a fresh round of congressionally mandated sanctions that were expected to be put in place over the next few weeks.

The news agency cited Trump administration officials as saying that the move could deal a fatal blow to the Nord Stream 2 project, which is 90 percent complete.

„We’ve been getting body blow on body blow to this, and now we’re in the process of driving a stake through the project[’s] heart,” one US official said at the time, as quoted by Reuters, while speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The news agency reported that Russia in December resumed work to build the EUR 9.5 billion (USD 11.6 billion) pipeline after a one-year pause due to previous US sanctions.

A US State Department official said earlier last month that the United States would continue to use sanctions as a tool against Nord Stream 2, according to a report at the time by energetyka24.com.

“Our sanctions and authorities are working and we will stop this pipeline” from being completed, Christopher Robinson, a deputy assistant secretary in the US State Department’s Europe and Eurasia bureau, said at a virtual conference on December 16.

’Russian malign influence project’

“Our message is clear that for those who are aiding and abetting this Russian malign influence project, they must get out now or face the consequences,” Robinson told the online conference, which was held by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.

During the same conference, US Republican Senator Ted Cruz said he believed that new American sanctions would prevent the completion of the Russia-Germany gas link even as Moscow scrambled to finish the undersea project, energetyka24.com reported last month.

Cruz added that US sanctions targeted „critical vulnerabilities without which the pipeline cannot be completed.”

The US Congress in December passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included legislation sanctioning any companies that provide upgrading services for vessels working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline or that provide insurance and certification services for the project, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

In October, the United States targeted companies “providing services or facilities for upgrades or installation of equipment” for vessels participating in the construction of Nord Stream 2 and companies funding those upgrades and installations.

The pipeline is designed to have the capacity to send around 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a media interview in September that the United States was working to build a coalition of countries to stop the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from being completed in Europe.

Speaking out on the pipeline in 2019, US President Donald Trump said: “We’re protecting Germany from Russia and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars from Germany.”

Poland’s minister for European affairs, Konrad Szymański, warned in an opinion piece in September last year that Nord Stream 2, if completed, would make Europe economically dependent on Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in August that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would allow Russia to buy weapons with European money.

Morawiecki has previously called Nord Stream 2 “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the European Union and NATO.

(gs/pk)

Source: energetyka24.com, PAP

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