Nord Stream 2: The Pipeline Causing International Upset

Published on 20 April 2021 at 15:30

Nord Stream 2; Germany and Russia’s infamous construction project, has been a hot topic of discussion among many EU and NATO member states. The EU have already made it clear that it does not need the pipeline for its energy security. In autumn 2020 the EU parliament passed a resolution which called for the construction to stop, which was ignored. 


Nord Stream 2 is the second pipeline project to be constructed on the Baltic sea. The pipeline itself will be over 1,200km long and about 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year will travel through it. After a signed contract in 2012 the pipe laying subsequently commenced in 2018. It is estimated that Nord Stream 2 will become operational sometime later this year. The pipeline is currently 95% complete.


The project poses a considerable threat to the Ukraine. It is estimated that the country could lose anywhere between $2-$3bln in profits. Ukraine currently derive revenue from fees and tarrifs in place on the Russian gas which currently travels through the country into the EU. Losing that income would substantially weaken Ukraine's financial position. 


Criticism for the project comes from the US and EU in particular. Within the EU, primarily members who joined in 2004, have voiced their opposition to the project. The Polish Prime Minister has called the project Anti-European. Many of the former Soviet bloc states see the Nord Stream 2 as a strategic as well as an economic threat. Their memories from the Soviet occupation are still quite vivid. The Biden administration has threatened to place further sanctions on companies working on the project. Senators including Ted Cruz and other prominent Republicans, have appealed to the Biden administration to do more.


In 2019 President Trump approved a law which aimed to put sanctions on any company that would help Gazprom to complete the pipeline.  As a result the construction was temporarily halted.  Eighteen European companies announced that they have either terminated their participation in the construction of the pipeline or are in the process of doing so. 


The construction not only possesses a strategic as well as an economic threat for NATO, EU and Ukraine, it also brings with itself a massive environmental threat. Greenpeace has warned that so far Nord Stream 2 has been polluting the German coast as well as having an impact on the coastal soils and sea life. 


The two contenders running to be the CDU/CSU block nominee for Chancellor; Laschet and Söder, have repeatedly said that they would not halt the construction of Nord Stream 2 if elected. The Greens however, which are polling at upwards of 20%, are against the construction for environmental and strategic reasons.  Steinmeier, the President of Germany and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, when asked about Nord Stream 2 in an interview linked the construction of the pipeline to  Operation Barbarossa (Hitler's invasion of the USSR during the Second World War) as if Germany had some sort of an obligation because of what the country did 80 years ago,  to finish the construction of the pipeline.


With Navalny in prison, Russian troops gathering at the Ukrainian border, Czechia announcing that those responsible for the 2014 arm factory blast were Russian spies, the same ones that were behind Skripal poisoning, while in the meantime the US has placed extra sanctions on Russia, and expelled its diplomats:  Germany is under pressure to halt the construction and withdraw from Nord Stream 2.

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