The United States and the European Union (EU) are at odds over more than just the Iran nuclear deal – tensions surrounding energy policy have also become a flashpoint for the two global powerhouses.
In energy policy, the U.S. has been opposing the Gazprom-led and highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which will follow the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. EU institutions and some EU members such as Poland and Lithuania are also against it, but one of the leaders of the EU and the end-point of the planned project—Germany— supports Nord Stream 2 and sees the project as a private commercial venture that will help it to meet rising natural gas demand.
While the U.S. has been hinting this year that it could sanction the project and the companies involved in it—which include not only Gazprom but also major European firms Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, and Wintershall—Germany has just said that Washington shouldn’t interfere with Europe’s energy choices and policies.
“I don’t want European energy policy to be defined in Washington,” Germany’s Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andreas Michaelis said at a conference on trans-Atlantic ties in Berlin this week.
Germany has to consult with its European partners regarding the project, Michaelis said, and noted, as quoted by Reuters, that he was “certainly not willing to accept that Washington is deciding at the end of the day that we should not rely on Russian gas and that we should not complete this pipeline project.”
In July this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that “Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply.”
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