France’s demand that Germany halt construction of Nord Stream 2 is unreasonable and would cost German taxpayers dearly if implemented, Klaus Ernst, the Die Linke lawmaker who heads the Bundestag’s Economic Affairs and Energy Committee, has said.
“The French government’s demand to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2 is unreasonable and erroneous. Stopping a project which has already been approved will burden German consumers with higher gas prices due to compensation payments for investments that have already been made,” Ernst told reporters on Monday.
His comments follow Clement Beaune’s remarks about the possibility of the EU expanding proposed sanctions against Russia over its treatment of Navalny to include Nord Stream 2. “We have always said we have the greatest doubts on this project in this context,” Beaune said, speaking to France Inter radio on Monday.
France’s Engie, one of the five Western European energy companies involved in the project, has yet to address Beaune’s remarks. French investment in the project, which includes state support, consists of nearly a billion euros, with Russia’s Gazprom, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV and the Anglo-Dutch Shell contributing the rest.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger told reporters Monday that Beaune’s demands against Berlin was “not news,” and that the German government’s view of Nord Stream 2 remains unchanged.
Once completed, the $10.5 billion, 1,230 km pipeline project will be able to pump Russian gas and hydrogen from Vyborg, Russia to Griefswald, Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Once completed, the infrastructure will double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream network from 55 to 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The extra capacity is expected to help guarantee Germany’s energy security as the Central European industrial giant weans itself off nuclear and coal power.
Navalny was detained in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on 17 January after returning from Berlin, where he received treatment for alleged poisoning last summer and fall. The opposition vlogger is being held for 30 days in connection with repeated violations of the terms of his probation for a 2013 embezzlement case. His detention has sparked two weeks of street protests in Moscow and other Russian cities.