German green leader Baerbock opposes Nord Stream 2 permit, calls out Russian ‘blackmail’



Germany should not grant the Nord Stream 2 pipeline regulatory approval and resist Russina “blackmail” on energy prices, Annalena Baerbock, the co-chair of the German Green party, said in an interview published on Wednesday by the Funke media group.

“We can’t allow ourselves to be blackmailed” by Russia, Baerbock said, adding that Moscow plays a “poker game” and is partly responsible for the high gas prices in Europe. “Gas deliveries have been driven down considerably”, she said.

This is a situation “intentionally brought about” in order to “force the rapid commissioning of Nord Stream 2”, Baerbock concluded.

The green co-leader also believes that providing Nord Stream 2 with a regulatory approval would be contrary to European rules. The Nord Stream 2 AG company, which will own and operate the pipeline, is wholly owned by Russian giant Gazprom, which goes against the EU’s gas directive. “As long as that is one and the same corporation, the operating permit must not be granted,” Baerbock argues. The Bundesnetzagentur, the German infrastructure regulator, will make the final call on the matter.

Baerbock and her Green party are entering coalition talks with the German SPD and FDP. The previous CDU-led Merkel government was in favor of Nord Stream 2, despite international pressure to kill the project. Olaf Scholz’s SPD, which would be the largest party of a three-way coalition, is more favorable to the pipeline.

Sergei Netschajew, the Russian ambassador to Germany, expects the upcoming German government to stick to Nord Stream 2, which has been completed in September 2021. “The project meets the interests of the German economy and the population. It guarantees energy security”, he told the Berliner Zeitung. Nord Stream 2 is a “good deal for everyone involved”, Netschajew said.

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