Today, February 10, German ministers had to fend off attacks from the Greens in the Bundestag over Nord Stream 2. They accused the government of a “dirty deal” with the United States so that Washington would not impose sanctions against the construction of the pipeline.
Deputies from the Union 90/Greens faction questioned German ministers in the Bundestag. During the hearings on Nord Stream 2, they accused the government of offering Donald Trump’s administration a deal to allow the U.S. to complete the pipeline.
The day before, the environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe and Bild tabloid journalist Julian Repke published an alleged copy of a proposal by German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz to US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The text stated that the German government was ready to increase financial support for LNG infrastructure in Germany to $1 billion to complete two LNG terminals. The text also said that Berlin would continue to strengthen Europe’s energy security in view of the current Russian-Ukrainian gas transit contract, Poland’s desire to build the “Baltic Gas Pipeline” and preserve transit through the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline. In response, Berlin allegedly offers the U.S. to let Nord Stream 2 be completed: current and future sanctions will not apply or exceptions will be used when imposing them. In the fall, German media reported that Berlin made such a proposal back in August last year.
“I refute that there is some kind of dirty deal, there is no such thing. I strongly deny it, there is no dirty deal,” Environment Minister Svenja Schulze responded to the Union 90/Green faction deputy’s attacks. She added that the letters that one government sends to another are of course coordinated in the government, but there is no deal as described by the MP.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, for his part, told MPs that the proposal was rejected and this was known back in September. The Foreign Minister remarked that Nord Stream 2 allows influencing Russia and accused the Greens of bringing Russia and China closer together as a powerful military-economic bloc.
After dismissing criticism of Nord Stream 2, Svenja Schulze went on the offensive: “We are all united in the fact that we want to put an end to coal and nuclear power. We will write off nuclear power plants. That means we will need gas for the transition period. Svenja Schulze cited data that Germany will need more gas by 2040: “But we need gas for that time and we need a lot of sources so that we can provide the most favorable conditions for consumers. I think this is the right thing to do and we can only do so with gas, but the alternatives – nuclear power from France or energy supplies from Poland – cannot. What is the point of stopping an agreed project, paying billions for it, just to avoid completing the pipeline? The only thing that is crucial is how much gas we will end up using. We’re trying to reduce that (gas consumption), we’re doing it with all fossil sources, we’re doing it with coal, we’re writing off nuclear power plants, but we need gas for a transitional period. If you have an alternative to that, let’s discuss it. Research says we need gas for a transitional period.”
Also today in the Bundestag, the Greens were waiting for Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz to be on the carpet. Deputies summoned him as he participated in a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the federal states on countering the new coronavirus pandemic.
Recall that to complete the “Nord Stream – 2” is left to complete about 150 kilometers in the Danish and German waters of the Baltic Sea. So far the work is carried out by one pipelayer – “Fortuna”. The project operator plans to complete at least one of the two strings by the end of June.