Chancellor Merkel stands up to Russian President Putin.
But stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project could cost Germany dearly.
Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline
is currently still under construction - it could end abruptly.
The fall of the poisoned Kremlin critic
Alexej Navalny turns
the project into a political issue in the dispute between
Chancellor Angela Merkel
ruling out an
Berlin - The Eastern European allies sharply criticize the project, the USA are even attacking it with sanctions: For years, the German government has been fighting massive resistance for
Nord Stream 2
, the controversial
through the Baltic Sea between
Only 150 kilometers of the 2360 kilometer strings of the pipeline are missing.
But now, shortly before the finish line, the support of the federal government because of the
the Russian Kremlin critic
on the brink.
Nord Stream 2: stop or abandon the construction project?
In any case,
Chancellor Angela Merkel *
repeating what was still valid last Friday after the poison finding in Russia's most famous opposition party: “We want the construction to be completed
and that the Navalny question and other questions (.. .) have to be discussed separately, ”she said at her traditional summer press conference.
In her first public appearance after the poisoning finding, she evaded the question of the future of Nord Stream 2 on Thursday.
And government spokesman Steffen Seibert also kept a low profile the next day.
The project is shaking, and calls for a stop are getting louder - also in Merkel's own party.
Friedrich Merz, candidate for the CDU chairmanship, proposed a two-year construction freeze on Friday in the "Bild" magazine.
“So far I've been in favor of building the pipeline, despite some concerns.
But after the poison attack on Navalny, Europe must react now. "
In fact, such a construction freeze would initially change little.
Since the imposition of US sanctions last December, not much has happened anyway, the laying of the pipes has been suspended.
Aborting the project, for which the Greens are the most vocal, would have a much tougher effect.
However, this is not so easy because it is a private company and Nord Stream 2 has permits to build and operate.
Vice-President of the Greens, Oliver Krischer, calls on the federal government to show a “watertight and compensation-free way” to prevent the completion of Nord Stream 2.
“That will not be possible with one measure.
It must also be a matter of submitting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline completely to European regulation. ”From his point of view, this would be an important step so that the pipeline becomes uneconomical and Russia also loses interest in its completion.
First of all, the legally binding planning approval decision applies, says Oliver Hermes, Chairman of the Eastern Committee of German Business.
"We also do not see that this permit can be questioned retrospectively, because that would mean that ongoing projects could be switched on and off according to the general political weather situation." What claims for damages would result from a possible ban on completion can be determined do not say and would have to be clarified in court in the event of a case.
Nord Stream 2: If the project were canceled, investments in the billions would be sunk
In the event of a demolition, investments of billions - including German companies - would literally be sunk in the Baltic Sea.
In the event of a construction stop, investments of 8 billion euros would have to be written off, says Timm Kehler, board member of Zukunft Erdgas, an initiative of the German gas industry.
Furthermore, the already accrued costs for the connection pipelines of 4 billion euros would have to be paid by the gas customers without these being used.
Around 120 companies from twelve European countries are directly involved in the construction and operation of the pipeline.
"A total loss of both pipeline investments could lead to damages amounting to billions for individual European companies and would cost jobs, especially in eastern Germany," says Hermes.
And Kehler is certain: "If there is a stop, gas prices in the EU will rise noticeably, as the tighter supply will drive prices up."
Gas from Russia is cheaper on the market than fracking gas from the USA.
According to information from Zukunft Erdgas, Russia is the EU's largest import partner with a share of around 38 percent, followed by Norway with around 25 percent.
Nord Stream 2: Bridge technology would be slowed down by pipeline shutdown
The German government sees gas as a “bridging technology”.
Because Germany will phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022 and from coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest; the first blocks will be taken off the grid in the coming years.
The necessary expansion of green electricity from wind and sun is currently stalling.
In addition, gas production in the EU is falling.
Nord Stream 2 AG argues that “reliable, economical and sustainable additional” gas supplies are required to meet demand.
Many in the coalition see it that way too.
Nord Stream 2: Ukraine negotiations could suffer if the pipeline is cut
An exit from Nord Stream 2 would also be a turning point for political relations with Russia.
Despite all differences with President Putin, the German government has tried to maintain the dialogue.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas recently traveled to Moscow to see his Russian counterpart Sergej Lavrov, although Russia is a corona risk area.
The #Nawalny case leads to a dispute over # NordStream2.
The Chancellor has joined Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas: The continued construction is linked to the clarification of the poisoning.
The conflict between Berlin and #Moscow is taking on forms that have not existed for years.
- ZDF today (@ZDFheute) September 7, 2020
Among other things, it was about further discussions on a solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine with German and French mediation.
A meeting of foreign ministers is actually planned in Paris over the next few weeks.
It is very questionable whether this will really take place.
Nord Stream 2: Pipeline out would end dispute with the US
Should the federal government withdraw its support for Nord Stream 2, it would not only show a clear edge against Moscow, but also clear away one of the main issues at stake with the USA.
US President Donald Trump is attacking the pipeline with sanctions - and it cannot be assumed that this would change if his opponent Joe Biden were elected president.
(dpa) * Merkur.de is part of the nationwide Ippen digital editorial network
Video: Spahn links Nord Stream 2 with clarification in the Navalny case