23 Jul 2021, 13:25
Charlotte Nijhuis

Green party leader criticises Nord Stream 2 deal for undermining Ukraine’s security

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Zeit

Green party co-leader and chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock has criticised the Nord Stream 2 agreement with the U.S. government. On 21 July, Berlin and Washington reached a deal that will allow the completion of the natural gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany. "I still think this pipeline is wrong, for climate policy reasons, but above all geostrategically," Baerbock told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. She said the pipeline endangers Ukraine’s security and is aimed at splitting the European Union, adding that Eastern Europeans are "rightly angry" with the German government "for unilaterally sticking to this pipeline." In order for Ukraine to become more independent of Russia, she said, it was essential "that we massively support the conversion of Ukraine's energy supply to renewable energies."

In a joint statement, the U.S. and Germany pledged to invest in Ukraine’s green energy infrastructure with a fund of at least one billion dollars and to try ensure Russian gas flow through Ukraine continues beyond 2024. The countries also said they will try to mitigate Russia’s energy dominance in Europe and prevent Moscow from using “energy as a weapon” in Ukraine. Baerbock, however, expressed strong doubts about this. "The Kremlin has recently underlined very clearly that it will make its commitments on gas supplies through Ukraine conditional on how Ukraine behaves," Baerbock said. That is a threat, she said, adding that "threats are no basis for reliable politics."

At the same time, the German Eastern Business Association welcomed the deal. Chairman Oliver Hermes said he hopes the agreement “will remove years of uncertainty for the companies involved and finally clear the way for this important European energy project,” Die Zeit reports. The pipeline will help ensure the increasing demand for gas due to the coal and nuclear phase-out, Hermes added. In the medium term, he said, “the pipeline has great potential to also transport hydrogen and to further develop the decades-long, reliable energy partnership with Russia into a climate partnership.”

Annalena Baerbock's Green Party is in second place behind the conservatives (CDU-CSU) according to current polls for Germany's September general election.

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