Earlier this week, the leaders of the US House and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed on the 2020 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which specifically stipulates a spate of sanctions against the Russian-European pipeline project Nord Stream 2. President Trump is due to sign the bill into law after the Senate vote.
Steffen Kotre, a German politician for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and a member of the Bundestag, has berated Berlin for yielding to Washington’s pressure pertaining to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
He underscored Nord Stream 2’s importance in ensuring Germany’s energy security, saying that attempts to “torpedo” the implementation of the project should have prompted the government of Angela Merkel to immediately take measures to defend it.
“In 2018, Ms. Merkel made it very clear that Nord Stream 2 is a purely bilateral economic project between Germany and Russia, which is not covered by EU law. Now the US has managed to link the project to the situation in Ukraine, which was destabilised by Washington itself. Under US pressure, the federal government yielded to this economic attack and surrendered,” Kotre asserted.
He added that Merkel’s government “is no longer able to represent Germany’s interests, not to mention uphold them”.
According to Kontre, stability in Ukraine “has nothing to do with other economic projects”.
German Business Brands US Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 ‘Attack on EU Sovereignty’
The remarks come after the chairman of the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) warned against US sanctions on the Russian-European gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, branding it fatal for the Paris peace efforts in eastern Ukraine.
Oliver Hermes insisted that Washington’s attempt to interfere would be “more than an unfriendly act” and would “massively damage” transatlantic relations.
“If these sanctions are approved, this would be a direct attack on the sovereignty of the European Union and a fatal signal for the Paris peace efforts. The venture has been granted all necessary permits from the EU for its completion, besides, needed regulations for operation have been adopted,” he noted.
US Closer to Slapping Sanctions on Nord Stream 2
US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 were recently included in a must-pass 2020 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which is expected to be approved before Christmas.
The sanctions reportedly target the vessels and executives of the companies involved in laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which could lead to the blocking of their US-based property and visa denials.
Earlier, Bloomberg quoted a Senate Republican aide as saying that these measures are meant to force a standstill in the construction of the pipeline.
The US, which is trying to sell more of its own liquefied natural gas (LNG) to its overseas allies, claims that Nord Stream 2 poses a threat to European energy security.
Russia has repeatedly rebuffed the claims, saying that Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project and accusing the US of trying to use tools of “unfair competition under various political pretexts”.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between the Russian energy giant Gazprom and five European companies: France’s ENGIE, Austria’s OMV, the UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall.
The pipeline is due to be finished before the end of this year and will carry up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Germany and Central Europe, bypassing the traditional route through Ukraine and Poland.