29th Sep 2023

Merkel puts pressure on EU for Russian pipeline

  • German chancellor Angela Merkel wrote to the European Commission about the project (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped up the pressure on the European commission and member states to back a Russian-German gas pipeline project, rejecting claims that this would increase Europe's energy dependency on Russia.

In a letter sent to commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and to the chairman of the EU presidency Mirek Topolanek, Ms Merkel calls for support for the controversial Nord Stream pipeline on the seabed of the Baltic Sea, arguing that the recent gas crisis shows the need for the project, Financial Times Deutschland reports.

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Ms Merkel's move comes just a day after the commission pledged €250 million for the non-Russian gas pipeline Nabucco and after Mr Topolanek called Nord Stream and Gazprom's second project South Stream a threat to the construction of the European project.

The German chancellor argued that all three projects – Nabucco, Nord Stream and South Stream were needed, and that all EU member states should show political will to build them.

Nord Stream was highly criticised by the Baltic states, Poland, Finland and Sweden for trying to leave them out by connecting Germany directly to the Russian gas fields, as well as for environmental concerns related to a submarine pipeline.

The Nord Stream deal was sealed by Ms Merkel's predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, who has since become a member of the Gazprom board. The pipeline consortium consists of Gazprom, the German companies Eon Ruhrgas and BASF, as well as the Dutch company Gasunie.

Meanwhile, in a speech delivered at the Davos business forum, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin unveiled his vision regarding "a real single energy partnership" with Europe, based on "clear-cut legal foundation".

He compared such a partnership with the treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, which later became the European Union.

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