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Scholz vows to defend Ukraine gas exports against Nord Stream 2
Pipeline

Scholz vows to defend Ukraine gas exports against Nord Stream 2

13.12.2021 From our online archive
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock went further, saying Nord Stream 2 doesn’t meet the requirements of German regulators
Photo credit: Shutterstock

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government will “do everything” to ensure that natural gas continues to flow through Ukraine and prevent Russia from using its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to cripple the former Soviet republic’s economy. 

During a three-hour trip to Poland on Sunday, Germany’s new leader didn’t directly address what, if any, action his government would take against the pipeline as Russia masses troops on Ukraine’s border. 

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock went further, saying Nord Stream 2 doesn’t meet the requirements of German regulators, who suspended the pipeline’s certification last month because the Gazprom PJSC-owned operator hadn’t properly set up a German unit. 

“At this point, the pipeline can’t be certified because it doesn’t fulfill the requirements of European energy law -- and security issues are still on the table,” Baerbock, whose Green party is a junior partner in the government, told broadcaster ZDF. 

In Warsaw, Scholz reinforced a pledge by his predecessor, Angela Merkel, that Germany would use its leverage to ensure that Russia extends its transit contract with Ukraine and help overhaul the east European country’s energy infrastructure. 

“We feel responsible that the gas transit business is also a successful business,” Scholz said in Warsaw after a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. 

Morawiecki said the roll out of Nord Stream 2 could “tighten the noose” around Ukraine and repeated his call to stop the pipeline project. Scholz made his second trip to the Polish capital after being sworn in to succeed Merkel on Wednesday. 

Scholz also said he prefers a “pragmatic” resolution to the escalating dispute between the European Commission and Warsaw over adhering to principles of the rule of law. The EU has been locked in dispute with the Polish government over its revamp of the judicial system. 

(Adds German foreign minister’s comments on pipeline in second paragraph.)

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