19 Dec 2019, 13:16
Julian Wettengel

Merkel criticises US sanctions on Russia-Germany gas pipeline Nord Stream 2

Clean Energy Wire / Deutsche Welle / ZDF

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised the US sanctions to be imposed on companies working on the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, recently approved by the US Senate. “We are opposed to extraterritorial sanctions,” Merkel said during question time in the national parliament (Bundestag). Asked about possible counter sanctions, Merkel said: “I see no other way than to hold talks - but these must be very decisive talks - and to express our disagreement with the practice of extraterritorial sanctions.”
The sanctions will not prevent Nord Stream 2 from becoming operational, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to a report by Deutsche Welle. Manuela Schwesig, state premier of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania – where the pipeline will land on German territory – said that Germany and Europe needed a secure energy supply. "[The Americans] are attempting to bring American gas, obtained by fracking, to the market," she added.
New Social Democratic Party (SPD) co-head Saskia Esken also criticised the planned sanctions in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF. “We can't put up with this. We have to react, but diplomatically, of course,” she said.

The pipeline, which will directly connect Russia and Germany, is nearing completion. The German government generally supports the highly-contentious endeavour and argues it is mainly a business project. Proponents argue the pipeline is a commercial investment that is key to Europe's supply security, while opponents – including many other EU member states as well as some German politicians across political parties – have criticised Nord Stream 2 on environmental, geopolitical and security grounds.

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