German Lawmaker Says Economic Arguments Won As US Waives Pipeline Sanctions

German Lawmaker Says Economic Arguments Won as US Waives Pipeline Sanctions

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st May, 2021) Practical economic interests of Germany and other European countries to unleash bloc-wide energy transition have finally outweighed the US political opposition to the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 project, Heiko Hessenkemper, a member of the Bundestag's committee on economic affairs and energy, told Sputnik.

Despite previously expressing determination to do its best to thwart the Russian-led project, the Biden administration decided on Wednesday to spare Swiss-based company Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig, citing national interest as the reason. Germany welcomed the move, after repeatedly calling the US attempts to disrupt the pipeline's construction an interference in its domestic affairs.

"From my point of view, the normative power of real economic arguments has prevailed, because not only Germany needs Russian natural gas for its energy transition, but also other countries, such as the Netherlands, which used to be exporters and are now becoming dependent on natural gas imports," Hessenkemper said, adding that "the option of hydrogen supplies through this pipeline has been opened up, which should also be an important part of Germany's climate policy."

Speaking about the US decision to waive some of the Nord Stream 2 sanctions, the Alternative for Germany lawmaker noted how smart Washington's wording on this issue was.

"These signals from the Biden administration are extremely clever: On the one hand, domestically, they still allow the option of sanction, because the wording is that sanctions are to be 'waived,' and also because it concerns only the corporate entity and CEO of 'Nord Stream 2 AG,' but not the pipe-laying ships, insurance companies, etc," Hessenkemper continued.

Still, the US appears to have given some ground on its economic interests, putting the transatlantic partnership first, the politician noted.

"In summary, I believe that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be completed and that the relations will return to normal," the lawmaker said, adding that "the building blocks have now been laid for a normalization of relations, for growing European-Russian trade."

The Nord Stream 2 project aims to lay a 745-mile twin offshore pipeline that will carry up to 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia to Germany through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden.

The pipeline's construction was suspended in December 2019 after US sanctions forced Swiss pipelay company Allseas to withdraw from the project. The construction resumed last December and is 95% complete.