Germany and the United States “work closely” in all major areas but “have differing positions on Nord Stream 2,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said.
“This is a subject in which we have different positions, and will continue to have different positions,” he told journalists on Thursday.
Earlier this week, a US State Department spokesman indicated that Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the Biden administration’s “strong opposition” to Nord Stream 2 in a conversation with Maas on the sidelines of the G7 ministerial meeting in London from 3 to 5 May.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that Europe and its Transatlantic partners do not share a “common assessment” on Nord Stream 2. The day before, a German regulator told Sputnik that construction of the pipeline network could resume by the end of May, pending the resolution of a lawsuit filed by a local environmental group, which announced on Tuesday that its conflict with the regulator had been “settled” after successfully halting work last month.
Once finished, Nord Stream 2’s dual pipelines will effectively double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream network, from 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year now to as much as 110 billion cubic metres gas per year.
The US has teamed up with its European partners, including Poland and Ukraine, to try to torpedo the project, with Washington pressuring its allies to buy US LNG supplies instead. Former chancellor and Nord Stream AG board chairman Gerhard Schroeder has suggested that these supplies would be more expensive and less environmentally friendly than the Russian alternative.
In addition to natural gas, Nord Stream 2 will be capable of pumping clean hydrogen – a fuel source Berlin expects to help it replace traditional internal combustion vehicles by 2040.