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1/30/16

Germany, Dump Nord Stream 2 ? - by Judy Dempsey

It’s not only Merkel’s policy on refugees that has alienated her European allies. Increasingly, there is growing resentment from Italy, Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, and Central European countries about Berlin’s determination to build Nord Stream 2. Germany should walk away the project, they say.

Nord Stream 2 is a second pipeline that is being built by Russian energy giant Gazprom and Germany’s BASF and E.ON energy companies. It will run in parallel to the first Nord Stream pipeline, which was completed in 2011 and sends gas under the Baltic Sea directly from Russia to Germany. In doing so, the pipeline weakens Ukraine’s role as the major transit country for Russian gas exports to Europe.

The Russian-German project also involves three other energy companies: France’s Engie, the Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Shell, and Austria’s OMV.

Nord Stream 2 has become so controversial for its opponents because it runs contrary to Merkel’s policy toward Russia in addition to undermining the EU’s energy policy. Indeed, what Nord Stream 2 confirms is that national interests take precedence over—or certainly undermine—a common EU policy on energy security and efforts to establish an EU energy union.

Merkel’s support for Nord Stream is particularly puzzling. She has been the one European leader who has consistently taken a tough stance against Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was she who pushed the EU member states to impose sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and its subsequent invasion of eastern Ukraine.

It was she who, along with the Russian, Ukrainian, and French leaders, negotiated the Minsk accords aimed at ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Above all, it has been Merkel who has turned away from Germany’s Ostpolitik, or Eastern policy. Successive German leaders had pursued this strategy of rapprochement with Russia believing it would stabilize Europe and nudge Russia toward modernization. Merkel has had no illusions about either goal, which is why she didn’t pursue Ostpolitik, which is still cherished by some of her Social Democrat coalition partners. Yet her unstinting support for Nord Stream contradicts her policy toward Russia.

Note EU: The issue here basically is a "no brainer". Why dump Nord Stream 2 ? To please the US and some of  their "lap-dogs" in the EU Eastern bloc?  

Ostpolitik is a sound political strategy which has worked and should be rekindled. Russia should be brought back into the European fold of friends. It is not a question of capitulation, but one of being smart. Why couldn't  Nord Stream 2 also become part of the EU energy union.  

Not one nation in the world has ever benefited from "hard-line" policies. Diplomacy yes - hard-line no.

Read more: Germany, Dump Nord Stream 2 - Carnegie Europe - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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