03:18 GMT +321 October 2019
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    US Does Not Consider Nord Stream 2 a Commercial Project - Researcher

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    German media has reported that US Envoy to Berlin Richard Grenell had sent letters to a number of German companies, hinting at the possibility of imposing US sanctions for supporting Nord Stream 2 project. The ambassador's spokesperson said that Grenell’s letters should be perceived not as a "threat", but as a clear expression of US policy.

    Sputnik has discussed the issue with Francis Perrin, a Senior Research Fellow at IRIS, the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.

    Sputnik: German Foreign Ministry described the letters as provocation. What measures can we expect from Berlin on this matter?

    Francis Perrin: The German authorities will not adopt specific measures on this matter. They will stress once more that Nord Stream 2 is a commercial project and that the required permits for its construction have been awarded.

    They will also explain that Germany wants to import more Russian gas for its national energy needs taking into account the decisions taken by the government about nuclear power and coal.

    Sputnik: This is not the first time Grenell uses scaremongering rhetoric towards Germany. What repercussions could it have on the US-Germany ties that are already strained?

    Francis Perrin: It is not the first time and it will not be the last time as the US State Department has repeatedly expressed its opposition to this project. Both chambers of the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, adopted in December 2018 resolutions against Nord Stream 2 and it was also the case at the European Parliament. But these resolutions are not binding.

    Germany is a member of the European Union and of NATO and its relationship with the US will remain very strong due to common political, strategic and economic interests. That being said it is in the public domain that Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump are not very good friends. There are strong disagreements on various issues including Nord Stream 2, sanctions against Iran, the Paris Agreement on climate change and trade matters.

    Sputnik: In your view, how resilient is Berlin to US pressure? How determined is Germany to proceed with the Nord Stream project 2?

    Francis Perrin: Nord Stream 2 has been awarded the required permits for its construction and Berlin will not oppose this huge gas transport project.

    Merkel only said that the construction of this gasline should not be used by Russia to stop the gas transit to Europe through Ukraine beyond 2019. It is a red line.

    Another key issue for Berlin is the compatibility of this project with European Union legislation and regulations regarding energy matters.

    Sputnik: The US maintains that involvement in the project will make Europe a captive of Russia while Moscow stresses that it simply pursues economic goals. Why is the United States attempting to politicize the construction of the pipeline?

    Francis Perrin: The US does not consider Nord Stream 2 as a commercial project but as a political project due to the weight of Gazprom and its close links with the Russian authorities. This attitude is also the consequence of the strong deterioration of the Russia-US relationship since 2014. Gazprom's current market share in Europe is about 35% and Washington does not want this percentage to be increased in the coming years. The European Parliament also said that it is a political project which threatens Europe energy security.

    In fact, huge energy projects in which some state-owned industry players are involved are both commercial and strategic. When you have strong political oppositions these projects generate a great deal of controversy. The US sanctions against Iranian oil exports are another illustration of this trend.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Francis Perrin and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Nord Stream 2, pipeline, construction, Francis Perrin, Germany, EU, United States, Russia
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