MOSCOW, February 28 – RIA Novosti . The US hopes in vain that Germany will abandon the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, since the implementation of the project will be the only way for German politicians to avoid the crises they have created, writes Foreign Policy.
As noted by the author of the material, Jeremy Stern, the Republicans are confident that the US sanctions against Berlin will stop the construction of the highway. Democrats, in turn, believe that it is possible to end the project without restrictive measures by reaching a compromise with the German side. At the same time, the Americans agree in absolute confidence that the United States will win in this issue anyway, and Germany will retreat.
“Few people in Washington seem to have thought about the fact that the German government considers Nord Stream 2 a way of survival and is going to complete it at all costs,” the article says.
According to Stern, no US sanctions and preferential tariffs from the US, no NATO commitments will convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel to undermine the profitability and creditworthiness of German industry. Foreign Policy stressed that Merkel's abandonment of the gas pipeline would raise doubts about the sovereignty of the German economy, as well as scare away voters from her party.
At the same time, as the author of the article points out, Germany could change its decision on the issue of Russian gas supplies if it abandoned the ban on nuclear fuel or reduced the demand for energy in the industrial sector by raising its prices. But any of these moves will prove to be “political suicide” in a country that is due to hold a series of votes this year, Stern said. The implementation of Nord Stream 2 will allow German politicians not to make unpopular decisions and “stay afloat,” he added.
Gas pipeline construction
Nord Stream 2 envisages the construction of two lines of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters a year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Most of the pipes have already been laid, about 148 kilometers of the total length of 2,460 kilometers remained unfinished: 120 of them are in the waters of Denmark and 28 are in Germany.
The project is actively opposed by the States, which expect to promote their liquefied natural gas in Europe, Ukraine, which is afraid of losing revenues from the transit of Russian gas, as well as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. In December 2019, Washington included sanctions against Nord Stream 2 in the defense budget, which caused construction to be interrupted for a year. It resumed in December 2020: the ship “Fortuna” laid 2.6 kilometers of pipes in the waters of Germany. On February 6, Fortuna began laying a 120-kilometer section in Danish waters, after which there will be another 28 kilometers left in German waters.
However, on January 1, the US Senate voted in favor of the FY2021 defense budget, which provides for the expansion of sanctions against the project. The measures apply to organizations that have provided services for testing, inspection or certification. As a result, the Norwegian company DNV GL and the Danish consulting firm Rambøll announced their withdrawal from the project. The pipe-laying ship Fortuna and the company KBT-Rus, which owns it, also fell under Washington's restrictions.