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02 Aug 2022, 13:42
Hannah Naylor

Insistence on Nord Stream 2 biggest stain on Germany’s reputation – Polish president

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Poland’s president Andrzej Duda has condemned Germany’s past insistence on remaining invested in Russian energy sources, arguing previous chancellor Angela Merkel had repeatedly been warned of the dangers this would pose to Europe. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, president Duda said: "I see myself as an advocate of good German-Polish relations," but added that the natural gas pipeline project Nord Stream was "my big reproach to Germany." Duda said he had asked the former conservative CDU chancellor "for years (…) in many talks" to recognise that the gas pipeline would be "harmful for Europe and murderous for us Poles." He also said that other neighbouring countries felt the same discontent towards Germany’s cooperation with Russia, knowing that it would enable “Russian dominance of the European market." He called Merkel’s continuation of the Nord Stream 2 plans "an act not only of indifference, but downright hostility toward our part of Europe”.

The Polish President also commented on the "looming shortage of hard coal for the winter," which he said will also affect Poland, where the coal is sourced somewhat from Russia and is relied on for heating homes. Duda called this “the biggest concern of the Polish government today," arguing it had "already been a great challenge for us to combine the EU climate goals and a socially just transformation in our country." Since 1989, Poland had achieved a big reduction in CO2 emissions. "Now the war has made everything even more complicated," the president said.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has caused a gas crisis across Europe, causing rocketing prices and forcing countries to resort to alternatives which threaten to interfere with decarbonisation targets. Germany has already prepared the first coal power plant to be fired up again in the case of gas shortages this winter.

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