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Page added on February 8, 2019

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EU Won’t Block Controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

Public Policy

Update: Following reports that France would effectively kill the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, EU officials including German Chancellor Angela Merkel affirmed on Friday that an agreement has been reached which will allow construction of the pipeline to move forward – handing a major victory to Germany and Russia (and a stunning defeat for President Trump).

At a meeting in Brussels on Friday, EU diplomats advanced a draft gas-market law, initially proposed in late 2017, while greatly cutting back a provision that would have effectively blocked the pipeline.

The deal will allow negotiations with the European Parliament on a final version of the legislation to begin. Both sides are aiming for an official agreement as soon as next week, and no later than the end of May.

* * *

As The European Union and the US struggle to block the controversial international pipeline project Nord Stream 2, a 760-mile pipeline that would allow Russia to export natural gas directly to Germany – depriving Ukraine of badly needed gas transit fees along the current route for Russian supplies – France on Friday officially announced its opposition to the project, revealing that it would vote with a bloc of EU nations seeking to torpedo the project.

Earlier reports suggested that the opposition in Paris is rooted in the fear that the pipeline would confer too much “strategic power” on Moscow, potentially complicating its relationship with Brussels. Reuters has previously reported that Paris’s vote against the project could rob Germany of the blocking minority it needs to move the project forward.

But later on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a deal had been reached on Nord Stream 2.

A vote is expected to be held next week on an amendment to the EU’s gas directive that could allow the European Commission to cancel the pipeline project, according to Sputnik. The project itself has been spearheaded by Gazprom and five European energy companies, and engineers for Gazprom said recently that the raw pipeline could be finished as early as later this year.

Commenting on France’s plans to back the new EU regulations, which could very well torpedo the project, Russia defended the venture, arguing that it is beneficial for all EU countries. Richard Grenell, the US Ambassador to Germany, threatened sanctions last month against German companies working on the project, claiming the pipeline would give the Kremlin too much leverage over gas supplies to Europe (though, more importantly for the US, it could cut into the US’s exporting abilities).


Responding to France’s decision, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that Moscow intends to closely follow the discussions in Brussels while continuing work on the project.

“We are certainly aware of the discussions that are taking place in the European Union on this matter. We are very closely monitoring the situation,” Peskov said when asked whether disagreement within the EU could interfere with the pipeline completion.

European countries are divided on the project. Nordic countries like Norway oppose it because it due to the view that it would give Russia too much leverage over European gas supplies (while threatening the market share of Scandinavian energy producers).

After Berlin affirmed that it is in “constant contact” with the French over Nordstream 2, Merkel argued against the criticisms of the project, which aims to bring gas into Germany via a route under the Baltic Sea and a hub in Germany. Merkel argued that the pipeline wouldn’t make her country dependent on Russia for its energy supplies.

“Do we become dependent on Russia due to this second gas pipeline? I say ‘no,’ if we diversify at the same time,” Merkel told journalists in Bratislava, where she met with the heads of states of the Visegrad Group, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

Once completed (that is, if it’s completed), the pipeline would deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas to the European Union annually. Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Trump of trying to force Russia out of the European energy market to the benefit of US LNG producers (remember, the US became a net energy exporter late last year for the first time ever, and the US shale industry sees Europe as a key growth market).

Moscow also claimed that the pipeline is a purely commercial project.

Though clearly, the EU doesn’t agree.


12 Comments on "EU Won’t Block Controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline"

  1. Cloggie on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 8:16 am 

    Ouch, that was close!

    Of course the project is both commercial and (highly) geopolitical. The pipeline is 30% finished and completed in 9 months time. Completion is more important than (immediate) exploitation and that seems likely now.

    The wine will be tasting good in the Kremlin tonight.
    And for me.

    PBM option not

  2. Sissyfuss on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 8:23 am 

    Trumps power is being defused piece by piece by the suddenly empowered Dems. Russia and China know this, they read the Enquirer.

  3. Theedrich on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 8:37 am 

    From:  Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine:  Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (2017 Dec 5), Kindle edition:

    Location 120 [From a top secret paper Ellsberg read in the spring of 1961]:  “The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs, from a U.S. first strike aimed at the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact satellites, and China, would be roughly six hundred million dead.”

    “The basic elements of American readiness for nuclear war remain today what they were almost sixty years ago:  Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, aimed mainly at Russian military targets including command and control, many in or near cities.  The declared official rationale for such a system has always been primarily the supposed need to deter — or if necessary respond to — an aggressive Russian nuclear strike against the United States.  That widely believed public rationale is a deliberate deception.  Deterring a surprise Soviet nuclear attack — or responding to such an attack — has never been the only or even the primary purpose of our nuclear plans and preparations.  The nature, scale, and posture of our strategic nuclear forces has always been shaped by the requirements of quite different purposes:  to attempt to limit the damage to the United States from Soviet or Russian retaliation to a U.S. first strike against the USSR or Russia.  This capability is, in particular, intended to strengthen the credibility of U.S. threats to initiate limited nuclear attacks, or escalate them — U.S. threats of ‘first use’ — to prevail in regional, initially non-nuclear conflicts involving Soviet or Russian forces or their allies.

    “The required U.S. strategic capabilities have always been for a first strike force:  not, under any president, for a U.S. surprise attack, unprovoked or ‘a bolt out of the blue,’ but not, either, with an aim of striking ‘second’ under any circumstances, if that can be avoided by preemption.

    “Moreover, our ‘extended deterrence“ over allies in Europe and Japan rests on our preparedness and our frequently reiterated readiness to carry out threats of first use (initiations of limited nuclear attacks with short-range tactical weapons) and/or, implicitly, to carry out a disarming first strike on the homeland of the USSR or Russia, mostly with long-range strategic weapons, in response to large non-nuclear attacks by its conventional forces or those of its allies.”

    Location 322: “Moreover, the hand authorized to pull the trigger on U.S. nuclear forces has never been exclusively that of the president, nor even his highest military officials.”

    “Public discussion of American plans for a ‘decapitation’ of Soviet command and control led to the institution and maintenance of a ‘Dead Hand’ system of delegation that would assure retaliation to an American attack that destroyed Moscow and other command centers.  This, too, has been treated as a state secret:  paradoxically, since on both sides the secrecy and denial diminish deterrence of a decapitating attack against it.”

    Location 352:  The strategic nuclear system is more prone to false alarms, accidents and unauthorized launches that the public (and even most high officials) has ever been aware. … Potentially catastrophic dangers such as these have been systematically concealed from the public. … U.S. plans for thermonuclear war in the early sixties, if carried out in the Berlin or Cuban missile crises, would have killed many times more that the six hundred million people predicted by the JCS.  They would have caused nuclear winter that would have starved to death nearly everyone then living:  at that time three billion.”

    Location 5060:  “Seventy years of public controversy about ‘the decision to drop the bomb’ have been almost entirely misdirected.  It has proceeded on the false supposition that there was or had to be any such decision.  There was no new decision to be made in the spring of 1945 about burning a city’s worth of humans.The atom bomb did not start a new era of targeting or strategy of war making in the world.  Annihilation of an urban civilian population by fire had already become the American way of war from the air, as it had been the British way since late 1940.”

    Location 5110:  “In August 1945 the atom bomb was simply fitted into a long, secret pattern of war making by the massacre of civilians. … [T]he Strategic Air Command … was committed to the tactics of extermination perfected in the last six months of World War II.”

    Location 5513, footnote b:  “The yield of the first droppable H-bomb tested by the United States in 1954 was fifteen megatons.  That is a million times more explosive power than the largest blockbusters in World War II.  The actual yield turned out to be 250 percent of the largest yield that had been predicted for it, six megatons, resulting — along with an unexpected shift in wind — in heavy radioactive fallout contaminating inhabitants of the Marshall Islands and the crew of the distant Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon, one of whom died.  The reason for the great underestimate of yield, with its serious human consequences, was precisely the kind of scientific error or unforeseen reactivity that [nuclear scientist Enrico] Fermi had feared in connection with the possibility of atmospheric ignition from the Trinity test.  Los Alamos bomb designers had neglected (or greatly underestimated) the contribution to the production of neutrons and to the yield from one of the isotopes included in the hydrogen fuel, lithium-7 [which makes up 60% of the total lithium], which had been thought to be relatively inert but proved not to be under the unprecedented conditions of the dry-fuel thermonuclear detonation.  (See Alex Wellerstein, “Castle Bravo Revisited,” Restricted Data, June 21, 2013, and comments:

    Enough said.

  4. Cloggie on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 12:41 pm 

    Finally Merkel has done something right, she pushed through Nord Stream 2:

    The Americans won’t like this as they are afraid of a German alliance with Russia in the future.

    Here a US-Jewish deep stater being brutally honest about that geopolitical threat (PBM):

  5. makati1 on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 5:32 pm 

    The US is losing friends and allies, one step at a time. US isolation is sweet…for those outside the gulag. GO TRUMP!

  6. jawagord on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 8:03 pm 

    Not sure how more gas supply is bad for European consumers and industry? Other than maybe for the Noggie’s who have offshore gas to develop, but then they’ve kept themselves out of the EU. Merkel needs the gas to replace those bad old coal fired power plants with gas turbines, doomers rejoice!

  7. Anonymouse on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 8:13 pm 

    Not really sure why ZeroIQ characterizes this as ‘a stunning defeat for Trump’. Only true in the narrowest of senses. The jewnited snakes have been trying to scuttle Nordstream since….forever. Long before Trumpster Diver ever came along. Trump likely never heard of Nord Stream, where it was, or most important of all, why his inner circle of largely jewish advisers and sycophants are so keen on sabotaging it in the first place.

  8. makati1 on Fri, 8th Feb 2019 9:27 pm 

    Anon, but the average American’s memory is about one tweet long. History is what happened since breakfast. Rational thought is foreign to them. The small percentage of Americans who are intelligent, like yourself, will point it out but the rest of Americans won’t understand what you mean. That is America today. Foreigners understand more about America and what is happening there, than Americans. Trump is the perfect president for the times. Totally clueless.

  9. Free Speech Forum on Sat, 9th Feb 2019 3:55 am 

    You know the US is bad when Americans say that they feel like they have more freedom in Communist countries like Vietnam.

  10. Sissyfuss on Sun, 10th Feb 2019 9:32 am 

    Theedy, war us hell and the objective is to confirm win or you will be destroyed. No matter how hard world bodies try to apply humane rules for engagement and captured enemy the lizardbrained are in control and such fun practices as spearing babies on bayonets or in the Mayans case, removing a beating heart is regarded as fair game in the moment. Humans need to embrace the better angels of their mercy and soon, before the nukes start flying or the crops start dying.

  11. Cloggie on Sun, 10th Feb 2019 11:45 am 

    Construction work on Nord Stream 2 proceeds fine and will be complete as early as June 2019. First gas deliveries expected by November:

    The purpose of the pipeline is to phase out dirty coal with cleaner natural gas, a laudable objective, but something Trump has no affinity with.

    Meanwhile in Italy, Salvini offers himself as a replacement for Brexit-Britain to Trump:

    “Italy’s Salvini to Trump: I Can Be Your Closest Ally in Europe”

    Interestingly Salvini also wants to be big buddies with Putin. Wonder how this is going to work out.

    And then Salvini wants to become Europe’s next Caesar in the coming May elections:

    Interesting times.

  12. TurningPoint on Wed, 20th Mar 2019 9:09 pm 

    This is overall, good for Germany and Eastern Europe as a whole.

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