One name, however at the heart of the news, does not appear in the 177 pages of the coalition contract of the new German government: that of Nord Stream 2, this pipeline which is to transport Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea and whose Its existence is so controversial that no one knows when it will go into service, or even if it will ever work.
Two weeks after the inauguration of the government, we understand the reason for such an absence: given the tensions that Nord Stream 2 is already causing in the team of the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, it was undoubtedly prudent to keep the subject at bay. during the drafting phase of the coalition contract.
Hostile to the project for a long time, environmentalists decided to put it on the agenda from their first days in government. “As it stands, this gas pipeline cannot be approved, because it does not meet the requirements of European energy legislation and because security issues remain open”, declared the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, on December 12, on the public television channel ZDF. “From a geopolitical point of view, Nord Stream 2 is a mistake. Moreover, all countries have always been against, except Germany and Austria ”, said his colleague in charge of the economy, Robert Habeck, on December 19, in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“Scholz plays the legal card”
Between these two interventions, Olaf Scholz himself spoke on the subject on December 16. From Brussels, where he attended his first European Council, the new German Chancellor called Nord Stream 2 a “Private sector project”. It is therefore not up to his government to decide whether or not to put it into service, which in any case cannot take place before the end of the certification procedure undertaken by the Federal Network Agency (the Bundesnetzagentur). , he added. However, the latter, after announcing, in mid-November, that it was suspending the proceedings due to a legal obstacle, let it be known, a few hours before Olaf Scholz’s speech, that it would not return its decision before July 2022.
In his interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, on December 19, the new Minister of the Economy said in part the same thing as the Chancellor: “The pipeline is now built. The question of its commissioning remains open and must be decided according to European and German law. ” But he added an important point, referring directly to Russia’s attitude and the threats it currently poses to Ukraine: “Any new military action cannot be without severe consequences. And we must not exclude anything ” in the case of a “New violation of the integrity of the territory” from Ukraine, he said.
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Should we authorize Nord Stream 2, a pipeline carrying Russian gas? The German government is divided