Canada, U.S. express concern at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation over Russian pipeline into Germany

Freeland Vance Sajjan

Freeland Vance Sajjan

We're protecting France. We're protecting all of these countries.

The Kremlin on Thursday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's description of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation due to its energy reliance, saying his statement was part of a U.S. campaign to bully Europe into buying American energy supplies. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal (Nord Stream 2) with Russian Federation where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation.

But US economic interests only partially explain why the pipeline conflict is now emerging as a key point of contention.

The temporary interruption of supplies has been factored into the nominations of gas to be transported via Nord Stream to downstream European partners.

"We believe it (the pipeline) would undermine Europe's overall energy security and stability by providing Russian Federation another tool for the political coercion of European countries, especially Ukraine".

"Threats of US sanctions against European companies invested in Nord Stream 2 encroach on European energy policy", the chairman of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations (Ostausschuss), Wolfgang Buechele, told Reuters.

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German energy company Wintershall is involved with Russian natural gas company Gazprom's push to double the Nord Stream pipeline running through the Baltic Sea to Germany.

But in the years since, doubts have arisen whether the official arguments fully explain Berlin's decision-making process at the time. His convening with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland next week is engendering extensive worry. Within weeks, he started to oversee the project implementation himself, leading the Nord Stream AG's shareholder committee.

While the Trump administration opposes the project for a host of reasons, including the potential for the Russian government to place spying devices along the Nord Stream route, the president zeroed in on one specific danger: that the project will draw Moscow and Berlin closer while alienating other European nations and that it creates a clear conflict of interest for Ms. Merkel's government as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation seeks to counter Russian aggression.

The German committee groups 350 members active in 29 countries in eastern Europe accounting for about a fifth of Germany's total foreign trade, which is more sizeable than bilateral trades Germany conducts with the USA and China individually.

"Because of given circumstances, I want to point out one thing: I experienced the Soviet occupation of one part of Germany myself". "Long-term energy diplomacy became a carefully built link which guaranteed cooperation even during political crises", argued German historian Frank Bösch, who analysed West German government records.

"Supplies of pipeline gas do not lead to dependence of one country on another but to complete mutual dependence".

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