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18 Sep 2020, 13:30
Kerstine Appunn

Majority of Germans oppose halt to Nord Stream 2

Gas

Bild / dpa / ZDF

A large majority of Germans and the country's eastern states oppose an exit from the controversial Russian-German gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 following the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. In a poll by public broadcaster ZDF, 67 percent of respondents said Germany should not exit the project, while only 20 percent were in favour of doing so. The heads of Germany’s eastern states plan to sign a resolution opposing a halt , Bild Zeitung and dpa report. Stopping construction and abandoning the project were not “adequate reactions” to the attempt on the life of the Putin critic, the document says. While calling for a thorough investigation, the state premiers highlighted that this was not an issue to be dealt with by Germany alone.

Nord Stream 2 has now been completed but for the last 120 km.  It is to transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany through a twin pipeline underneath the Baltic Sea. Manuela Schwesig, premier of the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the pipeline will make landfall, said she was clearly opposed to ending the project. The "crime" against Navalny "should not be used to call Nord Stream 2 into question," Schwesig told the news magazine Der Spiegel in an interview last week.

In this week’s State of the Union speech,  European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen also cautioned against using Nord Stream 2 to put pressure on Russia. Germany has been debating a stop to the pipeline project, which has been contested by stakeholders in Germany, several of the country's neighbours and the United States administration. Chancellor Angela Merkel initially said the Navalny case should not bring construction to a halt, arguing that it was a purely economic project. However, her spokesperson later said she did not generally rule out that the Navalny poisoning would have an impact on Nord Stream 2.

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