Halting Nord Stream 2 must become a part of the EU’s “single voice”
For a long time Germany’s business community insisted that the construction of Nord Stream 2 must be finished because German large businesses and enterprises need it. German politicians had a similar stance as well: since the gas pipeline is an allegedly “business project”, political influence over it must be minimal and the European Commission’s and the European Parliament’s stance of halting Nord Stream 2 was perceived rather as meddling in the country’s domestic affairs.
The tragic poisoning of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny changed the stance of the German political elite. The insistence on purely German interests has weakened, and today, Germany is more open to forming a common European stance as far as interaction and communication with Russia are concerned. The EU’s “single voice” policy, which experts spoke and wrote so much about, again has the chance of being implemented.
German projects cannot be omitted from the list of possible sanctions against Russia, because that’s where the Kremlin’s greatest interests as regards the energy expansion are focused. If sanctions are to really work, not just voicing concern, they must aim at economic and business cooperation between Russia and the EU. And the implementation of Nord Stream 2 as a project quite fits into this format of business cooperation.
Halting the implementation of Nord Stream 2 in response to the Kremlin’s actions and the inclusion of affiliated persons and Russian companies to the EU’s sanction list would not cause serious losses for Europe, because transmission of gas via Ukraine remains on the agenda and may continue under current transit contract. Nord Stream 2 was an alternative geopolitical project to the Ukrainian route. Moreover, a number of European countries – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and others – stressed upon the threat to energy security coming from Nord Stream 2. Therefore, halting this project would be a true realization of the EU’s “single voice” in the sphere of energy security.