‘Absolutely Nothing will stop’ Germany gas pipeline

Sallie Anderson

“Nothing will stop” Nord Stream 2, Russia has actually stated on brand-new United States sanctions on a pipeline that is seeing the EU side with Russia versus its transatlantic ally.

” Our view stays the exact same: absolutely nothing will stop the finalisation of Nord Stream 2[NS2] And we delegate Germany and other EU member mentions to pass judgement on such United States procedures,” Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, informed EUobserver on Monday (29 June).

  • Swiss pipe-laying ship quit working after first round of United States sanctions (Image: nord-stream2. com).

The Russian-owned company developing the pipeline from Russia to Germany, the Nord Stream 2 consortium in Switzerland, was similarly bullish.

“Our shareholder and the five financial investors are fully committed to the project, as are Nord Stream 2’s suppliers,” it informed this website, likewise on Monday.

The Russian company Gazprom is its main investor and the EU energy companies co-financing the EUR10 billion plan are Engie, OMV, Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall.

They spoke after United States congressmen tabled a costs recently called the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Information Act.

The United States relocation would enforce charges on people, such as business individuals and investors, associated with structure NS2, according to Alan Riley, a legal specialist at United States think-tank the Atlantic Council.

“The bill reaches persons who ‘facilitate’ pipe-laying activities,” he stated.

However it would not make it possible for the United States to pursue German authorities who released licenses or mayors of ports where NS2-linked ships had actually docked, as Berlin had actually declared recently, Rileyadded


“Arms or emanations of the state are not caught by the sanctions bill,” he stated.

“To reach a mayor, it would amount to a facilitation of a facilitation of a facilitation … this would be too remote,” Riley stated.

The United States costs, in any case, triggered a push-back byGermany


“New sanctions would constitute a serious interference in European energy security and EU sovereignty,” its foreign ministry stated recently.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell likewise took Germany and Russia’s side due to “German pressure”, according to an EU source.

The European Commission was producing an “boosted sanctions system that will enhance Europe’s strength to the results of extraterritoriality of [the US] sanctions,” Borrell stated recently, responding to an MEPs’ concern.

“The EU is fully committed to the protection of … natural persons and legal entities exercising their rights,” he added.

Pipe-laying suspended

The United States first enforced sanctions on companies developing NS2 last December.

These required Swiss company Allseas, whose ship was laying the final 160 km section of the 2,460 km pipeline, to quit working.

And the United States ambassador to the EU, Ronald Gidwitz, warranted America’s actions recently.

NS2 would increase EU energy reliance on Russia and “it’s very easy to be held hostage when a significant amount of your gas is cut off,” the method Russia cut off Ukraine’s gas in the past, he informed press in Brussels.

Asked by EUobserver if he believed NS2 would still be built, he kept in mind: “Well, the Russians are certainly hoping it comes back to life. They’ve got a pipe-laying ship nearby”.

The Russian ship, the Akademik Cherskiy, which might take over from Allseas, has actually been moored in the German port of Mukran, according to the Reuters news firm.

It is waiting for a brand-new authorization from Denmark’s Energy Firm (DEA), in whose waters the last NS2 link lies, due to the fact that the Russian ship utilizes anchors, while the Swiss one did not.

The DEA likewise has a pending appeal versus its original authorization, submitted by a Polish NGO, on premises NS2 building and construction might interrupt World War 2-era chemical munitions on the Baltic Sea bed, damaging wildlife.

The NS2 consortium declined to comment on the Akademik Cherskiy. “We will inform about our plans in due time,” it stated.

However the Russian company took for given that the Danes would not trigger issues. “It [the NGO appeal] has no impact on our capability to build the pipeline,” the consortium stated.

Fanning flames

Technical niceties aside, that still left the geopolitics of NS2 as an aching point.

For his part, Borrell cautioned that it was dividing Western allies.

“The damage inflicted on the EU’s economic interests by US sanctions weakens transatlantic unity and the posture of firmness towards Russia’s actions, jeopardising, and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine since 2014,” he stated.

However his thinking may have sounded strange to NS2’s challengers in the EU, such as Poland and the Nordic states, who state it is Berlin’s cozying as much as Moscow that is weakening the EU’s “firmness towards Russia”.

Borrell may likewise have actually sounded odd to some German political leaders, such as liberal MP Alexander Lambsdorff, the deputy head of Germany’s opposition Free DemocraticParty


Remembering that Russia, in 2015, assassinated a Georgian exile in a shooting in broad daytime in a Berlin park, Lambsdorff just recently informed Bild, a German paper, that: “We [Germany] need to believe 3 times about whether we need to actually support such a pipeline”.

On the other hand, it stays to be seen what sort of “mechanism” the EU commission develops.

However its previous efforts to counter United States sanctions, on Iran, utilizing a “special purpose vehicle” for payments not did anything to stop EU companies running away Tehran.

“We can’t stop anybody buying gas from Russia, but we can make it more difficult and we make no bones about it,” Gidwitz, the United States ambassador, stated.

“Rather than fanning the flames of division between the EU and the US, it would be better for Berlin … to work with Washington on further clarifying this bill,” Riley, from the Atlantic Council, stated.

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