German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has reiterated Germany's support for the Nord Stream 2 project, emphasizing that it was a purely commercial initiative and that Europe would have nothing to gain by rejecting it.
"This is an economic project. It would not benefit anyone if German and European companies were to withdraw," Maas said, speaking to Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung in an interview published Saturday.
Earlier this week, German European Parliament member Manfred Weber asked German and European companies to reconsider their investment into the Nord Stream 2 project following last Sunday's Kerch Strait incident, which saw Russia detaining three Ukrainian Navy vessels which violated Russia's maritime borders and escalated the diplomatic spat between Moscow and Kiev.
On Wednesday, German cabinet spokesman Steffen Seibert said that the Kerch Strait incident would not change Germany's approach to Nord Stream 2.
On Saturday, European Parliament lawmaker Sandra Kalniete announced that she had prepared a formal resolution on the issue, claiming that Nord Stream 2 "reinforces EU dependency on Russian gas supplies, threatens the EU internal market and is not in line with EU energy policy, and therefore needs to be stopped."
Also this week, the United States, which has been attempting to export its more expensive LNG gas to Europe, called on European countries to reconsider their participation in Nord Stream 2, saying that the project "helps the Russian government" and questioning whether this was "the kind of support that they want to provide the Russian government…at this time."
Observers have pointed to Nord Stream 2's importance for European energy security. Recently, Sputnik energy economics observer Dmitri Lekuh pointed out that comparably inexpensive, guaranteed Russian gas supplies to the northern European industrial cluster were crucial to preserving the competitiveness of German industry against its US and Chinese rivals, while accounting for the depletion of European energy supplies and the planned decommissioning of German nuclear power plants.