If the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is suspended, Germany will face claims for damages.

This was stated by the Minister of Ecology of Germany Svenja Schulze.

“There is a threat that we will be presented with claims for damages in the international arbitration court,” she said.

She also added that Germany cannot "immediately withdraw from coal, nuclear and gas energy."

"In this and the next decades, we will need natural gas," said Schulze, quoted by the German newspaper Die Welt.

Recall that the United States and some of its allies in Europe are actively opposing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

The Russian project, which is being implemented with the participation of a number of European companies, consists of two gas pipeline strings with a length of more than 1.2 thousand kilometers each with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters.

m per year.

The pipes run along the bottom of the Baltic Sea through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of five countries: Russia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Germany.

In 2019, when the Trump administration was still in power, Washington imposed sanctions on the pipeline, after which the Swiss company Allseas was forced to stop laying.

However, then Gazprom decided to complete the construction of the pipeline on its own.

At the end of 2020, the US Senate approved the defense budget for 2021, which also contained amendments on new restrictions on Nord Stream 2.

Berlin disagrees with the US position - the German authorities are in favor of completing the construction of the gas pipeline and against unilateral extraterritorial sanctions from Washington.

The position of the FRG leadership is also shared by the former German ambassador to the USA and Great Britain, the head of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger.

In his article for Der Spiegel magazine, he wrote that stopping the project just before its completion would not do Berlin any good.

“Freezing the construction of Nord Stream 2 at such a late stage through intervention by the German government is equally a bad idea, even if one accepts the prospect of a grueling litigation that could result in Gazprom paying billions of dollars in damages, and the fact that an unfinished pipeline will remain at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, ”Ischinger said.

  • Construction of the Nord Stream 2 project

  • Reuters

  • © Anton Vaganov / File

From his point of view, the attitude to this issue may be different, but "Germany and other European countries will need Russian gas for many years to come."

However, Ischinger in his article also put forward alternative options for influencing Russia.

In particular, he proposed creating a mechanism for an emergency shutdown of the gas pipeline, facilitating the conclusion of an agreement between the EU and the United States on an early transition to renewable energy sources, or increasing pressure on Gazprom.

In addition, he believes that Berlin needs to work closely with the EU, the US and Ukraine on the Nord Stream 2 issue.

"Extremely beneficial to the economy"

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that US opposition to the construction of Nord Stream 2 violates the principles of free trade.

"The State Department has admitted that the United States is undermining the basic principles of free trade and competition, subordinating the laws of the market to its own geopolitical interests, acting against the will of sovereign countries and against the interests of citizens of independent states," Zakharova wrote on her Facebook.

So she commented on the statement of the representative of the US State Department Ned Price that Washington is opposed to Nord Stream 2 for geopolitical reasons.

Price also echoed the thesis, which has already become standard for representatives of the Biden administration, that this project is a "bad deal" that could undermine European energy security.

  • Construction of the Nord Stream 2 project

  • AFP

  • © Odd ANDERSEN

Leading researcher at the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Kamkin, commenting on the statement of the Minister of Ecology of Germany, recalled that the government of Angela Merkel had previously announced the abandonment of coal energy as part of a plan to switch to environmentally friendly and renewable energy sources.

“Taking into account that it is unrealistic to completely switch to green energy with existing technologies, the role of gas as an energy carrier and a source of raw materials for the chemical industry, and, accordingly, Nord Stream 2, is growing,” the expert stated.

He also recalled that many German, Austrian, Italian and Danish companies are involved in the construction of the pipeline.

“The suspension of the project on the initiative of the German government could indeed entail a number of lawsuits.

In addition, Berlin, abandoning the project, will prove itself to be an unreliable business partner.

This step will lead to quite serious reputational costs on other projects, "Kamkin explained.

In turn, Vladimir Shapovalov, deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics at Moscow State Pedagogical University, noted in a conversation with RT that there is an understanding in the ruling circles of Germany that in the coming decades the German economy will not be able to fully function without sufficient volumes of gas. 

“In the context of overcoming the pandemic, intensifying economic development - in order for the German economy to make the necessary leap forward, an uninterrupted gas supply is needed.

Nord Stream 2 is a project that is extremely beneficial for the German economy; it creates ideal conditions for its development.

At the same time, all possible alternatives, such as replacing Russian gas with American LNG, incur significantly higher costs, are less profitable or simply unrealizable, ”the political scientist argues.

From his point of view, such statements by members of the FRG government testify to the colossal pressure Washington exerts on the cabinet of ministers.

In turn, such German politicians as Wolfgang Ischinger, who offer to continue pressure on Moscow in one form or another, are essentially going against their own people and the country's economy, the political scientist said.

Nord Stream 2 is an exclusively economic enterprise that promises benefits, first of all, for Germany itself, therefore it is not only senseless to weave here issues of geopolitics, confrontation between West and East, but also immoral from the point of view of the interests of German citizens, ”Shapovalov explained.

He believes that the FRG's refusal from Nord Stream 2 at this stage is possible only in the event of colossal pressure from the United States, which can literally force German politicians to surrender.

“However, we see that Russia and Germany are ready to go all the way in the implementation of this project, despite the unprecedented pressure that comes from the United States.

This is enough for the project to be completed, and now there is no reason to believe that this position will change before the completion of construction, ”the expert predicted.