Secretary of State Blinken warns Europe against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

Europe

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on Tuesday in Brussels the Biden administration’s hostility to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline currently being built between Russia and Germany, pleading that it was “ultimately in contradiction to the EU’s own security goals.”

  • After a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Blinken also noted that a law requires the U.S. to slap sanctions on companies participating in Nord Stream 2 project, as the State Department emphasized last week in a statement.
  • “President Biden has been very clear, he believes the pipeline is a bad idea, bad for Europe, bad for the United States,” Blinken said.
  • Germany has pushed for the completion of the project, which is now 95% built and would bring an annual 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea, bypassing central Europe.
  • Washington and most European governments worry that Nord Stream 2 will increase Europe’s dependency on Russian energy, while depriving Ukraine of the significant fees it currently raises from Russian gas transiting through its territory.
  • 18 European companies have already pulled out from the project due to the threat of U.S. sanctions, notably insurers that Russia had enrolled in the financing of the pipeline.
  • Germany’s Green Party, which has become a serious contender for power ahead of the country’s general elections due in October, has made stopping the project a key plank of its electoral platform.

From the archives (January 2021): Germany approves resuming work on Russian natural gas pipeline that U.S. has threatened to sanction

The outlook: Pressure both domestic and international increases on Germany to abandon Nord Stream 2, with the risk of a stand off if the U.S. starts slapping sanctions on the European companies working on the $11 billion project. If it refuses to budge, Germany risks alienating the Europe-friendly U.S. administration.

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