German chancellor defends controversial plans for LNG terminal during site visit
German chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and economy and climate minister Robert Habeck (Greens) have defended controversial government plans for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen during an on-site visit, reports newswire dpa. The North Sea terminals and imports via Western European ports and via pipelines from Norway are not sufficient, Scholz said after a non-public meeting with critics of the project. He added that eastern Germany needed its own import infrastructure: "It's about security of supply for eastern Germany." Habeck, who also took part in the meeting, added that supply security wasn’t guaranteed yet and that eastern Germany in particular depended on "the creation of further alternatives”.
Local mayor Karsten Schneider said after the talks that he remained committed to using “all means” necessary to prevent the installation of the terminal. The plans have been met with fierce opposition on the island for months. Critics fear there will be negative consequences for the local environment and tourism, which is particularly important on the island as it is a popular holiday destination. The local government has also expressed doubts as to whether the terminal was needed at all. Environmental NGOs and think tanks also warn that Germany is currently headed for an LNG import overcapacity. The government has said that an overcapacity is necessary to prepare for failures due to accidents, sabotage, or other external events, and to supply EU neighbours.