Mr. Vitrenko, the German Economics Minister Robert Habeck has just presented his plans for the energy transition in Germany.

Is this good or bad for Ukraine?

Ralph Bollman

Correspondent for economic policy and deputy head of business and “Money & More” for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper in Berlin.

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Marcus Theurer

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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We are very much in favor of the energy transition around the world.

At the same time, we see that Germany's exit from nuclear power has led to an increase in gas prices.

Being dependent on natural gas is not bad per se.

But it's not a good idea in a situation where Russia has a dominant market position and regularly abuses that market power for a revanchist imperial logic.

Germany now needs natural gas to supplement wind power and photovoltaics in times of calm.

Of course, there needs to be a back-up for renewable energies.

But Germany should urge Russia to end the monopoly and, for example, allow gas to be routed through from Central Asia.

In addition, the build-up of storage reserves within the European energy community should become mandatory.

This would mean that Germany would no longer find itself in a situation like it is now, with problems with natural gas in the middle of winter.

For a leading nation like Germany, such dependence on a country like Russia is unacceptable.

A point of contention between Germany and Ukraine is the new Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. Can you still prevent it from going into operation?

We have already achieved one success: the pipeline is finished but not in operation because it does not comply with European law.

Naftogaz, as a state-owned Ukrainian company, has campaigned strongly that Nord Stream 2 should not be above European law.

I personally met Angela Merkel twice: we agreed that the pipeline should only go on stream if European laws are complied with.

This is currently not the case.

Fair competition is needed.

European companies should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to import natural gas via pipelines through Ukraine or via Nord Stream 2.

Germany will need more gas because of the energy transition.

So is it in Germany's interest to have another pipeline?

The Ukrainian pipeline capacities are sufficient, they are currently only 25 percent utilized.

So let's create competition!

If companies had the chance to buy gas on the Russian-Ukrainian border, then we could offer better conditions for transport to Europe.

However, some German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project are in fact bribed.

Bribed?

That's a strong statement, but let me explain: Gazprom is currently swimming in the money.

Nevertheless, the Nord Stream 2 consortium is taking out loans from German companies – at an interest rate that is three times higher than on the market.

If that's not a bribe, then what is?

In addition, Germany would have economic advantages if Nord Stream 2 made it the most important distribution point for Russian gas.

But the Federal Republic, as the leading European country, cannot gain a short-term economic advantage at the expense of other European countries.

So why does Nord Stream 2 even exist?

Because Putin is punishing Ukraine for choosing Europe.

After we signed the Association Agreement with the EU, Russia decided to build Nord Stream 2. So that we lose revenue from gas transportation.

If Germany benefits economically from Russia's punishment of Ukraine – do you call that fair?

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