The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, laid along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, intends to transport gas to Germany through the sea territories of Russia, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, bypassing Ukraine. The gas pipeline will consist of two lines with a length of over 1.2 thousand km each. The builders finished laying the first string in early June. The construction is planned to be fully completed by the end of August 2021.
The buzz surrounding the new US-Germany agreement was raised by Reuters. One of his sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the negotiations are still underway, but “the situation looks good,” and that their successful completion will be announced in the coming days.
It is also assumed that one of the key points of the agreement between the United States and Germany will be an increase in investments by both countries aimed at supporting the transformation of energy, energy efficiency and energy security in Ukraine. At the same time, it is not yet clear whether Washington and Berlin will announce significant public investments or whether they will seek to attract private capital.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, in turn, wanted to receive security guarantees from the United States and Germany in connection with the completion of the construction of the gas pipeline. “For 10-15 years we must be sure that we will have a normal gas supply”, - he said.
The US President at a press conference with the German Chancellor said: Washington and Berlin "are absolutely unanimous in the opinion that Russia should not be allowed to use energy as a weapon, as an instrument of coercion or a threat against its neighbors".
Merkel told what will be the reaction of the European Union if Russia violates its obligations to transit gas through Ukraine. In her opinion, Nord Stream 2 should become a supplement to gas transit through Ukraine, not cancel it. She predicted that a different development of events would cause "tension" in Europe.
At the same time, the candidate for Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from the Christian Democratic Union Armin Laschet Laschet spoke in Berlin, who noted that in the future Germany will need more and more gas volumes and, therefore, it is not particularly important for Berlin whether it will be supplied via Nord Stream. or through transit. According to him, after the completion of the last laying of the gas pipeline, it will be possible "to set a condition so that it cannot be used geopolitically".
In addition, during the talks, the US President announced the beginning of a partnership with Germany in several areas. Among them - "the development of sustainable energy technologies in developing economies". The partnership will develop on climate and energy.
Biden is seeking to improve relations with Europe after tensions over criticism of the European Union from his predecessor, President Donald Trump. He complained about the lack of assistance and loyalty from the European allies, and in response, the EU began preparing measures to conduct a foreign policy without looking back at Washington and strengthen its independence in the military sphere.
Igor Yushkov, an expert at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, suggested in the conversation with Novye Izvestia that Germany managed to defend Nord Stream 2 during the negotiations in Washington:
- The main intrigue was: will the United States be able to force Europe to create a separate legal regime for the operation of this gas pipeline. Now it will function according to common European legislation, and it will not be possible to stop it for political reasons. It is forbidden. And the US wanted to push through the idea that if Russia does something wrong politically, Nord Stream 2 stops. They wanted to associate this special legal regime, in fact, a sanctions regime, with the political actions of Moscow under the pretext that Russia is doing something criminal in Ukraine. Naturally, every five minutes the Americans would declare that Russia violates these agreements, infringes upon and threatens Ukraine, and would not allow Nord Stream 2 to work, the expert suggested.
Sergey Pikin, director of the Energy Development Fund, told Novye Izvestia that a big political game is underway, the goal of which, of course, is not Ukraine or even Russia, but the interaction of the new US administration with Germany and the European Union. That is why Americans are “so kind” today.
- It is known that in recent months the Federal Republic has taken a rather tough stance on Nord Stream 2, considering it its internal economic project, part of its economic interests. Washington had to listen to Berlin's voice. Therefore, it made a direct sense not to impose new sanctions, but to negotiate with Europe. Merkel has repeatedly stated that this is a purely economic project and has no political background. So the Americans are betting on the preservation of the former trade and economic ties with the European Union. After all, hundreds of billions of euros are at stake! Believe me, Nord Stream 2 is not worth that much money. This project has become a bargaining chip between the United States and Germany, the expert said.
“At the talks with Merkel, Biden may have also touched on the issue of the transit of Russian oil through Ukraine”, - said Sergei Pikin. - But in the German-American agreement, this topic is unlikely to be mentioned. The United States and Germany cannot be held liable for the actions of a third party not participating in this document. Although the heads of the two states have already promised, if Moscow fails to fulfill its obligations, they will take tough measures and punish it. Let's see how it will be in practice...