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25 Jan 2021, 12:36
Julian Wettengel

German environment minister in favour of Nord Stream 2 completion

RND / FAZ

Germany’s Social Democratic (SPD) environment minister Svenja Schulze has criticised attempts to stop the completion of the contentious natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. If the project were to be stopped now, "we would break a lot of china with regard to the reliability of constitutional decisions, and probably face legal disputes”, she told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. Schulze said Germany needed natural gas for a transition period when it exits coal and nuclear energy, before becoming climate neutral.

The new head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Armin Laschet, also re-iterated his support for the project. In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), Laschet said the poisoning and imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny should be seen as independent of “the question whether gas gets to us via land or sea”. He called Nord Stream 2 an “economic project” and said Germany has relied on Russian natural gas supply for a long time.

The SPD has long supported the project: former chancellor Gerhard Schröder is the chairman of the board of directors of the Nord Stream 2 AG, and the SPD leads the government coalition in the state that is setting up the foundation to help finish the pipeline. Conservative chancellor Merkel recently also renewed her support, even as the European Parliament voted for a resolution that called for the bloc to stop its completion, in response to the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Sanction threats and sanctions by the U.S. on companies involved in the project mean that it is unclear whether the pipeline can be completed. Construction was halted in December 2019 after the US enacted a sanctions bill affecting companies working on the pipeline.

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