Republicans Can Still Kill Biden's Nord Stream 2 Deal With Germany, US Media Claims
© AP Photo / Dmitry LovetskyIn this April 9, 2010 file photo, a Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 170 kms (106 miles) north-west from St. Petersburg, Russia, during a ceremony marking the start of Nord Stream pipeline construction.
© AP Photo / Dmitry Lovetsky
The key to it is a major piece of legislation passed in 2017 that essentially limited President Donald Trump's control over the foreign sanctions policy, partially transferring it to Congress.
Despite US President Joe Biden successfully striking an agreement with Germany that would allow for completion of Nord Stream 2 without new sanctions, the Republicans in Congress still have a shot at killing the deal and imposing new measures against the pipeline's operator, Bloomberg's columnist Eli Lake claimed.
He criticised Biden for being softer on Russia than Trump, who was repeatedly accused of not opposing Moscow hard enough, and presumably "appeasing" Kremlin while gaining nothing from the deal with Germany (apart from strengthening ties with key European ally and getting some guarantees Kiev won't be left out of the gas transit business in the near future).
Lake suggested that Republicans who supported Trump's plans for stopping Nord Stream 2 with sanctions (unsuccessfully as time showed), might still thwart Biden's deal by invoking provisions of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). This law was passed in 2017 as a measure to prevent Trump from lifting anti-Russia sanctions . It mandated POTUS to seek congressional review if he desired to lift any anti-Russia sanctions and created a framework for sanctioning Moscow on a number of fronts, including the construction of export pipelines.
Bloomberg's columnist noted that back in 2019 and 2020 Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz specifically used CAATSA to target Nord Stream 2 with sanctions. Now, another GOP member, Senator Pat Toomey is considering using the law to kill Biden's agreement with Germany, Lake said.
"Irrespective of the Biden administration’s mistaken policy choices, the president has an obligation to follow existing law […] and sanction Nord Stream II AG", Toomey commented on his effort.
Biden met with outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week to discuss the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, ultimately coming to an agreement that would put an end to American sanctions against the joint Russian-European venture if certain conditions are met. Specifically, Gazprom is expected to extend the gas transit contract with Ukraine for 10 more years, when it expires in 2024 and Kiev must receive aid in diversifying its energy sources and budget income, so that it would be less reliant on Russian gas.
23 July, 11:08 GMT
While Moscow was displeased with the conditions of its cooperation with Ukraine being set by foreign governments, the Kremlin noted that gas transits will continue as long as it remains economically viable. Gazprom, in turn, welcomed the deal, which might assure the EU's interest in Russian gas for a decade ahead amid a decarbonisation trend. Ukraine has strongly criticised Washington's agreement with Berlin, while requesting a consultation in the energy sphere with EU states.