"We consider Nord Stream 2 an economic project. We also support the diversification of energy sources. We also want gas transit to go through Ukraine like before. But we believe that Nord Stream 2 does not pose a threat to the diversification of supplies," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, streamed live by the German government.
Merkel's statement comes after earlier in the day she held talks with Morawiecki on the EU's future and energy security issues. Warsaw is a vigorous opponent of the Nord Stream 2, as the country says it fears that the pipeline will increase Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas.
"We had different views on the Nord Stream issue," Merkel told reporters after meeting Morawiecki in Berlin.
After Poland asked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to make sure that US sanctions cover the project and Washington expressed its support for Warsaw's opposition to the pipeline, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul said that he did not even consider these statement surprising and saw no reason to assess them.
In January, Germany's Stralsund Mining Authority issued permission for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Germany's territorial waters taking into account all potential environmental impact of the construction.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russia’s Gazprom with France's Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. It aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year to the European Union across the Baltic Sea to Germany.