Photo: Illustration; Source: Nord Stream 2 AG

Germany’s Greens promise to end Nord Stream 2 after election

Germany’s Greens have promised to abolish the contested Nord Stream 2 pipeline to ship Russian gas to Germany in their election programme.

According to Reuters, this might create a hurdle to a potential alliance between Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and the Greens – or Bündnis 90/Die Grünen party, its full name.

At the moment, Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives, who have backed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline opposed by the United States, are leading in polls ahead of September elections and are seen as most likely to seek a coalition with the ecologist Greens that are forecast to come second.

A poll by the Forsa research institute last week put the Greens on 21 per cent, behind the conservatives whose share has fallen to 29 per cent over a sluggish vaccine rollout, a corruption scandal linked to face mask deals, and growing frustration at the lack of a clear path out of the pandemic and lockdowns to contain it.

Armin Laschet, leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), has downplayed concerns of the United States and eastern European countries, such as Poland, that say the pipeline increases Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

In common with the United States, which has imposed sanctions on some entities involved in the Gazprom-led project, the Greens say it entrenches the wrong response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its arming of separatists in east Ukraine.

The pipeline project Nord Stream 2 is not only a political project because of its climate and energy implications but also because it causes damage on the geopolitical level – especially given the situation in Ukraine – and therefore it should be stopped,” the Greens party programme claimed, adding that Russia was increasingly becoming an “authoritarian state”.

The $11 billion project will bypass Western ally Ukraine, potentially depriving it of valuable transit fees. It will also compete with shipments of U.S. liquefied natural gas.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last Thursday warned entities involved in Nord Stream 2 to quit and claimed that: “As the President has said, Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal — for Germany, for Ukraine, and our Central and Eastern European allies and partners”.

The Department reiterates its warning that any entity involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline risks U.S. sanctions and should immediately abandon work on the pipeline”, he added.

As reported in February 2021, U.S. oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, AXA Group, and 16 other companies have already abandoned work on the Gazprom-led project and will not be sanctioned by the U.S.

Despite growing political pressure, the construction is resuming with plans for a second Russian pipe-laying vessel, the Akademik Cherskiy, to join the project in Danish waters.

As for Nord Stream 2, it is designed as two parallel 48-inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometres long, each starting southwest of St. Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald.

The gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.