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Merkel Open to Action Against Nord Stream

Public Policy

Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the door to taking action against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as Germany and its allies mull a response to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Merkel’s rethinking of her sustained support for the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline underscores the escalating tensions with President Vladimir Putin’s government after German military specialists determined last week that Navalny had been poisoned by novichok, a Russian-developed nerve agent. The Kremlin critic began waking from a coma in a hospital in Berlin.

The German leader lent her support to statements from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who over the weekend warned that Berlin could change its backing for the project, Merkel’s chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Monday. It’s “too early” to determine what the consequences of the chemical attack would be, he added.

“The chancellor also holds the view that it’s wrong to rule something out from the start,” Seibert said at a regular government news conference in Berlin. That marks a shift for Merkel, who said on Aug. 28 that Nord Stream should be completed and remain a separate issue from Navalny.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the statement. Earlier, he said that the Kremlin sees no risk that Germany will block Nord Stream. The two leaders haven’t yet spoken about the Navalny case, according to Seibert.

“Any attempts to associate Russia or the Russian leadership with what happened are unacceptable for us, they are absurd,” Peskov said on a conference call. He repeated that the Kremlin is waiting for information about the poisoning from German authorities.

Meanwhile, German doctors said Navalny’s condition is improving 18 days after collapsing on a flight to Moscow. He is “responding to verbal stimuli,” Berlin’s Charite hospital said Monday in a Tweet.

“The patient has been removed from his medically induced coma and is being weaned off mechanical ventilation,” the hospital said, adding that longer-term effects from the “severe poisoning” can’t be ruled out.

1/2 The condition of Alexei #Navalny has improved. The patient has been removed from his medically induced coma and is being weaned off mechanical ventilation. He is responding to verbal stimuli.

— Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (@ChariteBerlin) September 7, 2020

The ruble fell 1% versus the dollar on Monday, the biggest decline among emerging market peers. Shares of Russia’s Gazprom PJSC — which leads the project — also extended losses, dropping as much as 2%.

In Moscow, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak vowed that the pipeline will be completed despite difficulties, according to Interfax. He said the gas transit is necessary for Europe, even amid a drop in demand.

It remains unclear whether Merkel will indeed pull the plug on the 9.5 billion-euro ($11.2 billion) venture, which is close to completion. Even as her chief spokesman confirmed the shift, he offered a standard defense of the pipeline, saying that gas deliveries from the Baltic Sea conduit have been supported by the EU — and that Nord Stream is only one of several channels for Russian gas, including the Black Sea pipeline TurkStream.

Seibert also noted that gas is considered one of the key energy sources to bridge Germany’s power needs while it phases out coal and nuclear and ramps up renewables.


“The risks are very real,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group that advises the Kremlin. “It’s clear that Moscow’s behavior won’t change” despite Merkel’s calls for a reaction in the case, he said, adding that “nobody is going to say, sorry, we poisoned Navalny, we won’t do it again.”

Internal Tension

Despite the changed tone in the public debate, coalition officials have signaled that there is still little appetite to abandon the project. Critics within Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc have called for measures that fall short of abandoning the pipeline, including a moratorium on construction or halting gas flows once it’s completed.

The discussions are even more fraught within Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, which have been steadfast in seeking stable ties with Russia. The SPD’s caucus leader, Rolf Muetzenich, said Sunday that invoking specific measures against Moscow “doesn’t help us” — comments that appeared to rebut Maas, an SPD member.

Merkel last week issued an uncharacteristically sharp rebuke of the Kremlin over the novichok finding and pledged a coordinated response among NATO and EU members.

The political tension caused by Navalny’s poisoning “has led to a very serious discussion in Germany and the EU about problems of our economic cooperation with Russia, including a new critical discussion over the Nord Stream project,” said Michael Harms, head of the German Eastern Business Association. “We need to do everything together to ensure that this trust is not undermined and that it is restored as much as possible”


62 Comments on "Merkel Open to Action Against Nord Stream"

  1. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 11:26 am 

    America Needs a New Chant to Replace “We’re #1,” But “We’re #28 and Dropping Fast” Won’t Cut It?

  2. The Nationalist on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 11:39 am 

    Best chant for the West would be “burn the Zionist Jew”

  3. JuanP on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 11:57 am 

    I bet I know just WHO was responsible for amerikas barbarism. I mean, I dont want to put words in your mouth or anything, but, got a name for us? It would have to be the work of one man, or amerikan rather.

    And, he(or she, but probably its a guy) would have be alive and active right now today, in either business or politics. Or maybe both even. Am I getting close there dunkan??

  4. Abraham van Helsing on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 12:49 pm 

    “America Needs a New Chant to Replace “We’re #1,” But “We’re #28 and Dropping Fast” Won’t Cut It?“

    What America needs to do is having a good look in the mirror…


    …and perhaps drop that baseless exceptionalism ideology, the idea that you are something better than Europe, your Mother Civilization.

    You aint’t.

    You just have been hanging out with (((the wrong people))) all the time. The first 100 years were promissing indeed, a civilization centered around the Freedom idea. But by the end of the 19th century a sinister demographic began to put its claws into the unsuspecting white american flesh. First the banks, than the Fed, than the media and finally the government. By 1933 the takeover was complete and immediately the hidden hand behind history began to plot for the destruction of European civilization, using the good services of America’s twin brother, the USSR. For no other purpose than to take its place. By 1945 the coup had succeeded and the once Great Race was owned by those who intended to destroy it, just like a farmer intends to kill its cattle (Goyim=cattle).

    But something had gone wrong. Thanks to Stalin the Great, the USSR had begun to remove the sinister demographic from power and the USSR became the adversary of Anglostan, for forty years, only to lose thanks to an inferior economic system. Ten years the sinister demographic got Mother Russia under control again, but thanks to Vladimir the Great, Russia again gained independence from The Tribe.

    Now everything is ready for CW2/WW3. This time around it ain’t Gertrud who will be forced to spread her legs.

    America is teetering on the brink of a devastating civil war. 1350 million Chinese and 640 million continental Europeans can’t wait to step into the power vacuum and retake their old place under the sun. The Torgau of the 21st century will be somewhere east of Vancouver, with this time continental Europeans and Chinese doing the handshaking.

  5. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 1:54 pm 

    “If emphysema, cancer, heart failure, or stroke don’t get you, neoliberalism will, as was the case for Eric Garner and George Floyd, murdered by racist police under the pretense of unlawful trade: selling loosies without tax stamps, buying a pack with an allegedly counterfeit bill.

    Like Zeno, neither could have recognized his final cigarette for what it was, nor the figurative resonance that would transform their famous last words into a rallying cry for victims of a disease that is social before it can be physiological, no matter how many coroners are brought in to say otherwise.”

  6. JuanP on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 3:33 pm 

    Wow, Duncan is glorifying a gangster. What a fucked up blind liberal. Good thing he is very old and
    Almost dead.

  7. Davyskum on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 3:47 pm 

    Wow, Duncan is glorifying a gangster. What a fucked up blind liberal. Good thing he is very old and
    Almost dead.

  8. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 5:06 pm 

    Revelation that ‘racist Trump stooge’ tried to censor CDC reports rocks experts and critics

    Let’s not demean stooges by comparing them to this scum.

  9. JuanP on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 5:09 pm 

    lying Chinese:

    ‘Rogue’ Chinese Virologist Claims She Has “Evidence” COVID-19 Was Created In A Lab

    Once again, the claims of a rogue Chinese scientist with a lot to say, and at least some evidence to back up her claims, has been ignored by the mainstream media. Intead, Chinese virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan, who was among the first to study the virus at a prestigious university in Hong Kong, where she worked before fleeing China, appeared on the British interview show ‘Loose Women’ late last week. During the interview, she answered questions about her claims, and reiterated that the CCP didn’t just deliberately cover up COVID-19 in a manner that led to thousands of unnecessary deaths, the party also knew that SARS-CoV-2 was created by Chinese scientists. Asked about the origins of the virus, the doctor said “it comes from a lab,” again rejecting reports from last year that the virus originated from a Wuhan wet market, claiming they were a “smokescreen”. Dr. Li also commented on her claims that Beijing deliberately tried to cover up the outbreak when it first learned of the killer virus, effectively allowing it to escape China and infect the world. When she sounded the alarm about human-to-human transmission in December last year, her former supervisors at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, a reference laboratory for the World Health Organization, silenced her. After a while, she “could not keep silent”, and decided to flee. In April, Yan reportedly fled Hong Kong and escaped to America in an effort to evade persecution and to ‘spread the truth’ about the pandemic.

  10. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 5:13 pm 

    “Donald Trump is very, very popular among a certain segment of the German population. Specifically, German neo-Nazis. German neo-Nazis absolutely adore our weird-haired, buffoonish, racist leader”

    Some positive news for the Fat Boy

  11. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 5:18 pm 


  12. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 12th Sep 2020 5:37 pm 

    “I never liked the guy and loathed the valorizing of him after 9/11 since many of his actions made everything worse. But it’s kind of sad to see someone fall apart like this on television. If he weren’t carrying water for the most vicious monster to ever set foot in the White House I might even feel sorry for him.”

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