Author`s name Oleg Artyukov

Nord Stream 2 evolves into major battle inside Germany

Germany continues the discussion about the completion and commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. For the time being, it is too early to ascertain that the opponents of the project are gaining the upper hand.

Nord Stream 2 controversy in Germany

On Friday,  Sept., 18, the Bundestag refused to vote on the merits of the Green Party's proposal to curtail the pipeline project. "We are voting on the submission of the proposal to the relevant committee. This is the faction of the ruling coalition, the Free Democratic Party and the Left faction. Who is against? This is the Alternative for Germany and Union 90/Greens faction. Who abstained? Nobody. The submission was decided,"Bundestag Vice-President Petra Pau, who was chairing the session said, adding that the Bundestag was not voting on the merits on the proposal.

The relevant committee is Bundestag's economic and energy committee chaired by representative of the Left Party, Klaus Ernst. He is an advocate of the construction of the pipeline.

In addition, on September 18, it became known that at a conference of prime ministers of East German lands in Berlin, six chief representatives from SPD, CDU and the Left spoke in favor of the Nord Streat 2 construction.

In their opinion, this project is of great importance for Germany and many European countries from the point of view of ensuring energy supplies in the future. Therefore, the participants consider the completion of the construction of the gas pipeline "reasonable and correct." According to the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Manuela Schleswig, Nord Stream 2 was 97 percent complete.

However, it should be clarified that according to Der Spiegel, the vice-premier from the Greens in the governments of the five East German lands called for the termination of construction.

The Green party is the only party in Germany that explicitly advocates the construction of Nord Stream 2 should be stopped. It is worthy of note that the "Greens" were against the project even before Aleksei Navalny's poisoning.

Germany is not alone

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier that EU countries should jointly decide how to proceed with the construction of Nord Stream 2.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, said that the European Union does not have the authority to stop the construction of the pipeline.

"Some of you talk about the possibility of this affecting Nord Stream 2. Once again, this is something that is outside of the possibilities of the European institutions. What I can tell you is that the European Commission has never shown a lot of enthusiasm about this pipeline, which from the Commission we have been considering as not a relevant priority infrastructure. But it is something that is up to the Member States that have been pushing for this infrastructure to be built. As I said, there is the scepticism of the Commission, which has never shown strong support for it," Borrell said.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz expressed his support for the project. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen suggested revising the project in light of the situation with Aleksei Navalny. She had always been against the project, she added, because, as she believes, Europe should not increase its dependence on Russian natural gas.

It is too early to dot all the i's in this story. The pipeline systems is almost complete. If the project is stopped, its participants will have to pay compensations, and it goes about 20 billion euros at least. Most likely, it will be Germany that will have to pay the fine from its budget. This is a pretty  good reason not to rush the decision.