Speaking to Newsweek, Manfred Weber, member of the European Parliament from Germany and a candidate to head the European Commission, pledged to move heaven and earth to halt the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
He stressed that he “flatly rejects” the pipeline’s construction because Nord Stream 2 is a “purely political” rather than “economic” project.
Weber insisted that the project runs counter to the “interests of the European Union which is why we should block it”.
“We already have all the tools for this, I mean the gas and energy directive”, he added, in an apparent nod to amendments to the EU Gas Directive stipulating that not only the European Commission, but also a committee of representatives from all EU countries will have to give consent to exempt the project from EU norms.
Weber pledged that if he becomes the head of the European Commission, he would once again study the “tools” that could be used to prevent the construction of Nord Stream 2.
Despite Russia’s repeated calls not to politicise the project’s implementation, the European Parliament passed earlier this week a resolution to stop the Nord Stream 2 project which allegedly bolsters the EU's dependence on Russian gas supplies and threatens the bloc's “strategic interests”.
The non-binding resolution was approved by a 402 to 163 margin, with 89 abstentions.
The document came amid Washington’s ongoing opposition to Nord Stream 2, with President Donald Trump urging EU member states, particularly Germany, to buy American LNG instead.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, refuted claims last month that Nord Stream 2 would make Berlin dependent on Russia by stating that it will not be the case if her country diversifies its energy suppliers. She also slammed proposed changes to the European Gas Directive that Moscow sees as aimed at torpedoing the project.
When completed later this year, the pipeline is expected to deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas annually to the European Union.