Major political conflict over a pipeline

As on 24. January the Russian laying boat “Fortuna” the work on Nord Stream 2 in the Baltic Sea, one could get the impression, the Cold War is back: Russia versus the USA, That's the tenor of many media outlets.

The federal government seems to be trapped somewhere in this major conflict, who, if construction continues, will get into trouble with the new American administration in Washington and if construction is halted, a conflict with Moscow.

For a gas pipeline, which Berlin has been for years “purely economic project” describes, This is a major boost to world politics, at least one could get the impression.

What hadn't already happened in the past few weeks?: Days earlier, construction giant Bilfinger had apparently withdrawn from the project and the major Zurich corporation no longer wanted to provide insurance benefits. And there are political demands, not just from the EU Parliament, To punish Russia with a construction freeze: Just like the Kremlin acted against Alexei Navalny, Germany cannot continue to pursue a joint energy project with Russia.

That Manuela Schwesig is doing everything she can to counter this, is understandable: The Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania doesn't just fear for jobs in the region, she also has an election campaign ahead of her. The SPD politician bets, probably rightly so, that their voters have fewer problems with Russia's actions than with the USA's actions.

Your foundation “Climate- and environmental protection Mecklenburg Western Pomerania” is therefore above all an attempt, to circumvent American threats of sanctions against further construction. The foundation will... “primarily on the completion of Nord Stream 2 participate”, it is in the paragraph 2 “Purpose of the foundation” to read – This is a remarkably unusual goal for an environmental foundation.

The USA wanted to prevent the pipeline to Russia, in order to sell the fracking gas to Germany itself, This is the common reading between Schwerin and Sassnitz. The basic question, whether Germany needs deliveries at all beyond the amount of gas currently imported, no matter where from, is, however, highly controversial.

All the more amazing, that it is about it – apart from the Russian analyses – Apparently there is only one large study on the pipeline, namely that of the German Institute for Economic Research 2018. However, they come to a clear verdict: Nord Stream 2 may be “not necessary to secure the natural gas supply in Germany and Europe”, An additional import of fossil fuels would even counteract the Paris climate goals, the authors recently explained. The federal government and German business have contradicted this several times. In your opinion, the pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic Sea obviously makes economic sense.

Russia, on the other hand, did not plan the pipeline from the outset as just an economic project. The geostrategic idea, to avoid Ukraine as a transit country, have representatives of the Russian state-owned company Gazprom – the North Stream 2 heard – explained several times in Russian cameras: Kiev can be bypassed with Turkish Stream in the south and Nord Stream in the north. This means the unpleasant haggling over transit fees and delivery security is finally over.

That it cannot be in the European interest, to destabilize Ukraine by threatening to lose millions of dollars in transit fees, was also recognized in Berlin. In Moscow one reached therefore, that the Ukrainian network should also continue to be used after the pipeline is completed. Since then, the government in Kiev has expressed doubts several times, that Russia will stick to this commitment – After the Russian annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, this seems understandable.

Now when demands are loud again, die Leitung angesichts der politischen Lage in Russland ganz zu stoppen, greift aber auch die Bundesregierung zu Argumenten jenseits des Ökonomischen: Nord Stream 2 sei auch notwendig, um mit Moskau im Gespräch zu bleiben, hört man vor allem von SPD-Seite. Parteifreund Ex-Kanzler Gerhard Schröder ist Verwaltungsratchef von Nord Stream 2, aber ob diese Tatsache das Argument an sich entkräftet, darüber herrscht Uneinigkeit zwischen Befürwortern und Gegnern des Projekts.

So oder so, in Berlin versucht man erst einmal Zuversicht zu verbreiten: Nord Stream 2 sei trotz aller Widrigkeiten noch nicht am Ende, heißt es. Verständlich, ein endgültiges Aus wäre ein politisches und, wegen möglicher Schadensersatzforderungen, auch ein finanzielles Desaster für die Regierung.

The Chancellor first wants to dissuade the Biden government from the sanctions, In the direction of Moscow, however, loyalty to the contract is signaled: “My general attitude towards Nord Stream 2 has not changed”, said Chancellor Angela Merkel recently at the federal press conference. The question, whether she ever regretted sticking with the project, she didn't want to answer.



Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A password has not been entered
Password generation
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x