The European Parliament handed a decision on January 21 calling on EU member states to right away cease work “once and for all” to finish the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which might carry Russian gasoline to Germany below the Baltic Sea, in response to the weekend arrest of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny.
In a decision, adopted with 581 votes in favour, 50 in opposition to and 44 abstentions, Members of the European Parliament known as on EU member states to take an energetic stance on the arrest of Navalny and plenty of of his followers at their subsequent conferences and to “significantly strengthen the EU’s restrictive measures vis-à-vis Russia”.
“Following years of deteriorating relations, MEPs stress the importance of critically reviewing cooperation with Russia in various foreign policy platforms and on projects such as Nord Stream 2. They call on the EU to immediately stop the completion of the controversial pipeline. MEPs also underline that the EU should no longer be a welcoming place for Russian wealth of unclear origin,” the European Parliament stated in a press launch.
With a view to the brand new administration in Washington, MEPs careworn that the EU ought to use this momentum to strengthen transatlantic unity in defending democracy and elementary values in opposition to authoritarian regimes.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is already going through US sanctions. Washington has stated that the Nord Stream 2 would make Europe extra depending on Russian gasoline, undermining EU power safety. At the identical time, nevertheless, the US is making an attempt to advertise gross sales of its personal liquefied pure gasoline (LNG).
Meanwhile, AP quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying on January 21 that she isn’t abandoning Nord Stream 2, however needs to speak to the brand new US Administration concerning the challenge. She acknowledged January 21 that she stated final summer time the poisoning of Navalny, who was handled in Germany after being uncovered to a nerve agent, “could play a role”. But “I am saying today that … my basic attitude has not yet changed in such a way that I would say that the project shouldn’t happen,” the information company quoted Merkel as saying.
“We will of course speak with the new American administration,” she stated. “We must also talk about what economic relationships with Russia in the gas sector are acceptable and what aren’t. 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.” “We must put everything on the table, and talk about whether we want to have no trade with Russia in the gas sector at all, and what dependence is tolerable,” AP quoted Merkel as saying. She reiterated Germany’s objections to “extraterritorial sanctions”.
Chris Weafer, co-founder of Macro-Advisory in Moscow, advised New Europe on January 21 that German officers, from Merkel down, have made it clear that they won’t block the completion of Nord Stream 2. “They view it as an essential part of their energy security and of the process to reduce carbon emissions. If anything, the efforts by the US, and some Eastern Europe states, to block it has hardened Germany’s resolve to complete it. It is now a matter of political principle for Germany,” Weafer stated, stressing that it’s as a lot about asserting the nation’s independence and never being bullied into yielding to exterior stress.
“The last phase of the project will continue to be difficult, at a political level rather than technical. But all engineering is in place and the issue with certification and insurance can be resolved.” Weafer stated. “I firmly believe that Germany now has hardened its position so much that it will not back down. To do so would leave it looking weak. If anything, the US congress has pushed this too aggressively and left Berlin with no option but to complete. And that’s what I expect to happen this year,” he added.
A Nord Stream 2 spokesperson advised New Europe on January 19 the challenge resumed pipelay works on December 11, 2020 as introduced within the Notice to Mariners by the German Waterways & Shipping Authority Stralsund. The Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna laid a 2.6-km part of the pipeline within the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), he stated, including that these deliberate building works have been accomplished in December 2020 and have been applied in full compliance with current permits.
About the present standing, the Nord Stream 2 spokesperson stated a complete of over 2,300 kilometres out of approximately 2,460 kilometres, or 94% of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline have been laid. Approximately 148 kilometres or 6% are left. There are approximately 120 kilometres in Danish waters and approximately 28 kilometres in German waters to be laid.
On January 18, the US reportedly knowledgeable German officers of its plans to impose sanctions on the Fortuna over its involvement within the building of Nord Stream 2. The affirmation got here after German enterprise publication Handelsblatt reported that the US can be issuing sanctions below its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
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