Berlin, Moscow await subsequent US steps on Nord Stream 2

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As the brand new US administration below Joe Biden is reportedly weighing extra sanctions towards the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, the pipelay barge Fortuna is constant pipelay works within the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the pipelay vessel Akademik Cherskiy is implementing preparatory works previous to commencing pipelay.

“I would expect Nord Stream 2 to do as much pipe-laying as possible and as fast as possible by using both Fortuna and Cherskiy,” Katja Yafimava, a senior analysis fellow on the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, informed New Europe on April 9.

“As of March 31, a total of 2,339 kilometres out of 2,460 kilometres or 95% of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline have been laid, a spokesperson for Nord Stream 2 pipeline told New Europe on April 9. “Approximately 121 kilometres or 5% remain. There are approximately 93 kilometres in Danish waters and approximately 28 kilometres in German waters to be laid. We will inform about further planning in due time,” the spokesperson added.

With over 95% of the pipeline full, Washington might not be capable of cease the Nord Stream 2 challenge. “My view remains that the Biden administration wants to stop/complicate the project but does not want to sanction any European companies involved in it,” Yafimava stated, explaining that the February sanctions report solely listed the Russian Fortuna and its proprietor.

“Therefore, one could expect the US to ratchet up the sanctions threat during the period preceding the adoption of the next sanctions report at the end of May with the aim of scaring more European companies away from the project,” Yafimava stated.

At the identical time, the Oxford power professional argued that the Biden administration needs to “trade” its non-imposition of sanctions on European corporations in change for one thing – a quid professional quo. “But I’d argue there won’t be much on offer from Europe/Germany as they know that the US itself is weary of imposing sanctions on European companies and the damage it would do to US-Europe relations,” Yafimava stated.

Peter Beyer, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Germany’s coordinator for transatlantic relations reportedly known as for a short lived halt to the development of Nord Stream 2 gasoline to provide Merkel’s authorities time to work on resetting ties with the US.

Asked if this indicators a change in perspective in Berlin, Yafimava stated that could be a minority view whereas the perspective of the federal government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has remained unchanged, particularly that development have to be accomplished. “Halting Nord Stream 2 construction would dramatically weaken the Germany’s position vis-à-vis the US in respect of the aforementioned quid pro quo and would only enable the US to drive a tougher bargain,” Yafimava stated.

In early January, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reportedly stated the federal authorities is not going to change its place on Nord Stream 2.

Regarding alleged incidents with different vessels and low-flying “foreign planes” reportedly showing near Nord Stream 2’s vessels, Yafimava defined that in line with the Danish maritime authority discover to mariners, there’s a short-term prohibited space with a radius of 1.5 nautical miles round Fortuna and Cherskiy. “If any of the alleged third-party interference incidents resulted in violation of that prohibited area it would be for the Danish authorities to take measures to stop it,” she defined.

Asked what are the subsequent steps after Nord Stream 2 is accomplished in Danish waters and when is it supposed to return into operation, Yafimava stated, “I think Nord Stream could finalize construction of both strings in 2021, but the start of operations appears more uncertain – subject to German NRA certification and whether the politics will be able to influence this independent entity’s decision – and could be anything between winter 2021-22 and winter 2023-24”.

Meanwhile, Nord Stream 2 stated the corporate doesn’t touch upon speculations on US sanctions actions on the challenge. “The commissioning of Nord Stream 2 is in the interest of Europe’s energy security, European consumers, and EU economic competitiveness,” the spokesperson stated. “We agree with European governments and the EU Commission that US sanctions actions against companies conducting legitimate business in the EU on the Nord Stream 2 project are contrary to international law and a violation of Europe’s energy sovereignty,” the Nord Stream 2 spokesperson argued, including that it’s as much as these governments and the European Commission to guard corporations working in Europe from illegal extraterritorial sanctions.

On January 18, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell stated the EU opposes unilateral sanctions affecting EU corporations conducting legit and lawful enterprise actions as is the case of the laws vis-à-vis Nord Stream 2.

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