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15 Dec 2021, 11:57
Julian Wettengel

Nord Stream 2 delay makes pipeline unfit as tool in Ukraine crisis– German govt sources

Clean Energy Wire

The contentious Russian-German pipeline project Nord Stream 2 is not a suitable instrument to penalise Russia in case it attempts to invade neighbouring Ukraine, said German government sources in Berlin ahead of two days of meetings of EU leaders in Brussels on 15-16 December. Russian activities at the border to Ukraine are “worrisome” and, while Germany wants to find ways to open a dialogue with the government, it also aims to send the “clear and unequivocal” signal that “any aggression against Ukraine would have very serious political and economic consequences”, the sources said. While the European Council summit would not yield a list of what such consequences could include, the German government does not see Nord Stream 2 as a suitable instrument, they added. As the national and EU permit procedure for the pipeline is ongoing and would take a while, there is “neither the option of nor the need for a political decision at the moment”, said the sources. In view of the long procedure, it “makes no sense to single out this issue now”. In recent days, G7 foreign ministers had already warned of “massive consequences” as Moscow reportedly massed as many as 100,000 troops near the border to Ukraine, and the issue is on the agenda for EU leaders this week.

Another controversial EU energy issue – the question of whether or not to label nuclear power and natural gas as sustainable investments in the EU taxonomy – is not on the official agenda for the summit. It is up to the European Commission to present its proposal for a so-called delegated act, and the German government is in “intensive negotiations on possible options with many friends in Europe and with the European Commission”, said the sources.

The European Commission has said it aims to come out with a proposal on nuclear and natural gas in the EU taxonomy for sustainable investments by Christmas. The announced delegated act could only be blocked by a large majority of EU member states, so the Commission’s proposal is “very relevant”, said the sources. Germany has led the call to keep nuclear out of the European Union’s green finance taxonomy for some time, but parts of the new government have called for gas to be recognised in it as a transition fuel on the way to climate neutrality.

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