Behind the scenes Germany is patiently working with the United States to implement a deal allowing for the ultimate transportation of natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Nord Stream 2 subsea pipeline.
To this end Germany’s foreign ministry said it continued to coordinate closely with the Biden administration on implementing a joint declaration on the $11 billion pipeline. The United States said “we fundamentally reject sanctions among allies,” in response to a query from Reuters about a report by Axios, which said Berlin had urged members of the U.S. Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as doing so would “weaken” U.S. credibility and “ultimately damage transatlantic unity”.
The principal U.S. concern is that the flow of gas through Nord Stream 2 would make Germany (and Europe) too reliant on Russian gas. The pipeline would also make it easier for Russia to circumvent the Ukraine, which heretofore has been a vital transmission route for Russian gas to Europe.
Germany has agreed to take action if Russia uses energy as a weapon in its relations with Ukraine, but the deal does not provide a specific criteria for how that would be judged. News website Axios cited a Nov. 19 document outlining steps Germany would take, including “strong public messages” condemning Russia’s behaviour and assessing the suspension of political meetings.
At the EU level, the document said Germany was “actively participating in the process to identify options for additional restrictive measures”, Axios said.
The document also said Nord Stream 2 presented “no threat to Ukraine as long as reasonable gas transit is ensured.