US’ ‘Hardball Tactics’ on Nord Stream 2 Alarm Merkel – Report

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Speaking at the 2019 Munich Security Conference late last week, US Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday made it clear that Washington is not ready to accept defeat on the Nord Stream 2, and urged the EU member states to reject the project.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is concerned over “the prospect of further hardball tactics from the Trump administration” regarding the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Bloomberg cited three unnamed sources as saying on Tuesday.

“US diplomats leaned on officials in Paris and Brussels to join their opposition to the Nord Stream 2 project over the past 10 days as Merkel thrashed out an agreement over the plan with France,” the source pointed out.

The remarks came after Merkel defended the development of the project during her speech at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, dismissing US concerns that Nord Stream 2 will weaken Europe’s strategic position.

US Vice President Mike Pence, for his part, reiterated Washington’s irreconcilable stance on the issue, urging its EU partners to follow suit.

Earlier this month, Merkel announced that France and Germany had clinched a compromise agreement on regulations concerning Nord Stream 2 which specifically empowers Berlin as the key negotiator with Russia on the pipeline project.

The agreement was reached after France contravened Germany and decided to back the new regulations ahead of a vote on amendments to the Gas Directive that would let the European Commission gain leverage over the Nord Stream 2 project.

Last month, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell warned companies based in the country that they may face sanctions from Washington over their participation in the project.

“As you are aware, the United States strongly opposes Nord Stream 2. […] The pipeline poses serious geopolitical consequences to our European allies and partners,” he wrote in a letter obtained by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

The Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between the Russian company Gazprom, Engie of France, OMV of Austria, the Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, as well as the Germany companies Uniper and Wintershall.

The project aims to deliver 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas per year to the European Union via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine.

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