Leading candidate to head European Commission says he would block Nord Stream 2
Manfred Weber, a leading candidate to become the next president of the European Commission, told a Polish newspaper this week he would try to block construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, Reuters reports. That puts Weber, who is German and member of the Conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), at odds with the German government, which supports the project. “I am against this project. It is not in the interest of the European Union,” Weber told the Polska Times. “As the head of the European Commission, I will use all available laws to block Nord Stream 2.” Weber is the candidate of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the coalition in the European Parliament that includes Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative coalition (CDU/CSU).
The Nord Stream 2 project, spearheaded by Russian state energy company Gazprom and currently under construction under the Baltic Sea, would allow the delivery of additional Russian gas directly to Germany. Proponents argue the pipeline is key to securing Europe’s – and Germany’s – energy supply. Opponents, including the United States, some European countries and even politicians within Merkel’s CDU, have criticised the project on environmental, geopolitical and security grounds, and say the additional transmission capacity is not needed. The pipeline was scheduled to be completed this year, but Denmark recently denied permission for the project’s original route, likely delaying it.