Brussels (Brussels Morning) France is calling on Germany to scrap the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project because of Russia’s detention of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and the crackdown on his supporters, DW reported on Monday.
On Monday, the French Minister of European Affairs, Clément Beaune, declared that Germany should scrap the project, noting how it has been criticised by several EU member states and the US. Its critics hold that Nord Stream 2 will increase the EU’s reliance on Russian gas.
The call to abandon the project comes in the wake of Russia’s crackdown on the opposition and Navalny, its leader, who was arrested earlier this month and could be jailed for years if found guilty of charges many in the international community and elsewhere have condemned as questionable or baseless.
“Sanctions have already been imposed – we could do that, but we have to be clear, they will not be enough,” Beaune noted. However, he said it would be for Germany to decide since the pipeline is in Germany.
The European Parliament has called for putting Nord Stream 2 construction on hold.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Martina Fietz noted on Monday that Germany still wants to see the gas pipeline completed. Merkel, she stressed, strongly supports the project. Meanwhile, she added, Berlin has called for Navalny’s release
Having been kept on hold for almost a year due to US sanctions, work on the pipeline project resumed in December last year.
Comments of German politicians
Green party politician Jürgen Trittin dismissed the idea of scrapping the project, saying it would be pointless since Germany would end up having to pay damages to Russian developers. Moreover, Russian gas would still find its way to the EU via other routes.
“I have never been a friend of this pipeline, but to stop it at this point in time would possibly have a very high price, without achieving any real effect,” he declared. MP Renata Alt recommended that a moratorium should be imposed on the project until Russia sheds light on the poisoning of Navalny and stops the crackdown on the opposition.