US Ambassador to Brussels Gordon Sondland voiced a “blatant threat” to the Russian-European venture Nord Stream 2, which is expected to deliver gas directly to Germany across the Baltic Sea. Der Spiegel reports that the diplomat promised a “pushback against any energy projects that conflict with US interests” by diplomatic means or “stronger measures.”
The newly-appointed US envoy has confronted the Germans on a number of issues during his first informal meeting with officials from the EU countries. The outlet cites a document released by the German mission in Brussels, which summed up this encounter. Despite his friendly tone, Sondland is said to remain "tough on the matter and true to the Trump administration's confrontational approach towards points of friction."
The United States has made a number of attempts to impede the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project, slamming Germany’s dependence on Russian fuel. Washington has even incorporated a provision for counteracting the construction of the pipeline with possible sanctions. Meanwhile, some experts point out that the US aspires to boost its liquefied natural gas exports to the European Union and Ukraine, which may suffer transit revenue drops if Nord Stream 2 becomes operational, as well as a 2-3 percent GDP loss.
However, Gordon reportedly denied that his position could have anything to do with Washington’s wish to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe. Nevertheless, he was “pleased” about the newly-announced plans of the German government to fund the construction of an LNG terminal in Germany.
Der Spiegel’s report has prompted irritation among German politicians, according to Der Spiegel. The head of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament Daniel Caspary told the outlet that the US President would like to “sell more gas, and secondly, that Russians sell less.”
A German lawmaker representing Die Linke, Andrej Hunko, has said it constitutes an “outrageous act” if the report proves to be correct. He insists that Germany mustn’t spend millions funding the terminal for the US fracking gas, which is extremely damaging for the environment.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Russia's gas giant Gazprom and five European companies. The goal of the project is to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas annually directly to the European Union across the Baltic Sea.