Brussels (Brussels Morning) Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, stated today that she will not abandon the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which currently faces US sanctions. She acknowledged that her decision could cause friction with the new administration in Washington, AP reports.
“My basic attitude has not yet changed in such a way that I would say that the project shouldn’t happen,” Merkel said, announcing that she plans to discuss the matter with the new Biden administration.
“But we must also talk about what economic relationships with Russia in the gas sector are acceptable and what aren’t,” Merkel said. “And it’s not as if there were absolutely no trade relations between the United States of America and Russia in the oil sector, for example.”
The departing Trump administration informed Berlin on Monday that it will impose sanctions on the Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna, currently working to complete the final 6% of the gas pipeline, which is envisioned to double the amount of Russian gas delivered to Europe via Germany.
US to remain opposed
Merkel emphasised that Germany is objecting to the US imposing “extraterritorial sanctions”. She noted that there is “a much broader political overlap with President Biden” than with his predecessor, but indicated she expects that there will still be differences remaining.
Opposition to Nord Stream 2 is one of the rare bipartisan issues in US politics, which is likely to be continued by the Biden administration. At his confirmation hearing on Monday, Biden’s pick for State Secretary, Antony Blinken stated that the President agrees the pipeline is a bad idea, and that he is “determined to do what he can to prevent its completion”.