28 Sep 2020, 13:41
Julian Wettengel

US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 no clear breach of international law – German parliament research service

FAZ / Tagesspiegel Background

The German national parliament’s (Bundestag) research service does not regard US sanctions against German companies in connection with the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline as a clear violation of international law, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. As long as the United States acted moderately, invoking the protection of national security interests and the negative impact on its own economy, "international law can do little to prevent the adoption of extraterritorial sanctions", says a report seen by the newspaper. Even if a direct impact of the Nord Stream 2 project on the national security of the United States is unlikely, indirect effects cannot be excluded, according to the report. The authors recommend that the German government should seek a diplomatic solution to the conflict with the United States.

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 government. Nord Stream 2 is now almost completed. It is to transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany through twin pipelines underneath the Baltic Sea. Proponents argue the pipeline is a commercial investment that is key to Europe's supply security as domestic natural gas production declines.

Tagesspiegel Background reports that the German government has been using data from scenarios by Nord Stream 2 AG in its argument that Europe will need at least an additional 100 billion cubic metres of gas per year. The economy ministry has confirmed this in e-mails to Green MP Oliver Krischer. “It remains remarkable, therefore, that even today there are obviously no calculations or even syntheses of the federal government's own results -- on a highly controversial topic of eminent importance in terms of foreign policy and energy policy,” writes Georg Ismar. MP Krischer called the process bizarre and said “one can't use outdated data from Nord Stream AG and thus directly from Gazprom and Vladimir Putin to justify pipelines”.

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