Friday, September 4, 2020

Nord Stream 2: will Navalny poisoning be the coffin nail to the contentious project?

 After the poisoning of Alexai Navalny the first heavy weight exponents of an end of the construction of the pipeline raise their voices. Former parliamentary leader of the ruling party CDU Friedrich Merz pleads in favour of a 2 year moratorium of the construction work, writes german newspaper BILD:

"The Putin pipeline Nord Stream 2 comes under increasing pressure after the poison attack on the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny (44).
On Wednesday the German government announced that a German armed forces laboratory had “unequivocally” identified a nerve agent from the Novitschok group in the body of the Russian opposition. According to BILD information, the German government assumes that the Russian state apparatus is responsible for the attack on Navalny.
Now Friedrich Merz (64), ex-Union parliamentary group leader and applicant for the CDU chairmanship, calls for a two-year construction stop on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
“So far, I have been in favor of continuing the pipeline, despite some concerns,” Merz told BILD. “But after the poison attack on Navalny, Europe must react now. I propose an immediate two-year freeze on construction, i.e. a moratorium. Unfortunately, Putin only understands this language. "
Nord Stream 2 AG - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company Gazprom - is behind the controversial pipeline project that is supposed to deliver gas from Russia to Germany. European energy companies such as Wintershall, Uniper and Shell are on board as financial investors. The head of the board of directors of Nord Stream 2 is former chancellor and Kremlin lobbyist Gerhard Schröder (76, SPD).
Despite heavy criticism from the Baltic states, Poland, Ukraine and the USA, but also from the Greens, the FDP and even the CDU, Chancellor Angela Merkel (66, CDU) is sticking to Nord Stream 2. Even after the poison attack on Navalny, the Chancellor declared that the gas pipeline should be "decoupled" from it.
Critics of Nord Stream 2 fear that Russia's authoritarian President Vladimir Putin (67) is using the pipeline to drive Europe and Germany deeper into energy dependency on Russia. With the proceeds from the gas deal, Putin would finance wars and consolidate his power apparatus."

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