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Nord Stream 2 can ensure Germany's leadership in Europe, expert says

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline can ensure Germany's leadership in the European economy for decades to come, and it is important for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to maintain it, Valdai discussion club program director Timofey Bordachev told TASS.

The expert drew attention to the joint press conference of Scholz and US President Joe Biden on Monday following their talks in Washington.

When asked about the future of Nord Stream 2, Biden promised there would be no advancement of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, should Moscow launch an invasion of Ukraine.

In turn, Scholz said only that Berlin would support the allies with regard to sanctions against Moscow. A number of American media took it as a certain caution of Germany, which does not correspond to the unified Western position around the Ukrainian conflict.

"German rhetoric is based on the fact that the launch of Nord Stream 2 will ensure Germany's leadership in the European economy for decades to come. Here the German government is dealing with the highest stakes regarding its future in the European Union, and in the world as a whole, because that leadership in Europe provides Germany with a position on a global scale, and for Germany it is too weighty," Bordachev said.

"This is the most important issue now, and we remember that [ex-Chancellor Angela] Merkel, despite all the political difficulties, brought the construction of Nord Stream 2 to completion, and Scholz's mission is to prevent the disruption of this project and still launch it," he added.

According to Bordachev, only a direct confrontation between Russia and the West could force Germany give up such plans. But Moscow has repeatedly stated that it has no intention of such a confrontation and has initiated comprehensive dialogues on security guarantees at various venues. In this regard, according to the expert, a situation when Germany "does not oppose any decisions" that can block Nord Stream 2 remains unlikely.

The expert noted that such trends cause a panic reaction in Kiev.

"Ukraine sees that the most powerful states in the world in the Western Hemisphere - Russia, the United States, Germany, France are negotiating behind its back. The Ukrainian authorities fear that their stakes will turn out to be too small, given the scale of the problems that the great powers are solving," he said.

He recalled that Ukraine's President Vladimir Zelensky had decided to postpone the meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday as he expected significant results from the negotiations between [U.S. President Joe] Biden with Scholz and [French President Emmanuel Macron] with Russian President [Vladimir Putin].

"Here the Ukrainian government is like a small animal that runs between giants and tries to bargain for something for itself for the future. Kiev and Berlin are incomparable quantities. Kiev cannot put pressure on Berlin, Kiev can show their resentment and disappointment. Germany is generally indifferent to any statements and actions of the Ukrainian authorities considering the scale of the tasks that Berlin is trying to solve," the expert said.

About Nord Stream 2

The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction of two pipelines with a total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Its construction was fully completed on September 10, 2021.

The Ukrainian authorities call the Nord Stream 2 project "carrying national security risks" and threatening the security of gas supplies to Europe. They accused Russia of using gas supplies as a "geopolitical weapon". Moscow always emphasized that this project is commercial, being implemented jointly with European partners, and Russia has never used energy resources as an instrument of pressure.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 29 that Russia and its partners had fulfilled their objective of creating Nord Stream 2, adding that it is for Europeans to decide on it now.

[Source: Tass, Moscow, 08Feb22]

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