SPD boss rejects gas pipeline project shutdown

After the proven poison attack on Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny, the debate about an appropriate German response continues. SPD leader Walter-Borjans has spoken out clearly against an option.

SPD boss Norbert Walter-Borjans has spoken out against stopping the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. In view of new sanctions on Russia following the poison attack on Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny, Walter-Borjans told Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper: ” There are many options for this, which are now being discussed, every day a new idea is promoted through the media, and do not state the cause or demands to shut down the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas (SPD) had not previously ruled out a shutdown of the gas pipeline project as a sanction. In the ZDF program “Berlin Direct”, Walter-Borjans said on Sunday evening that he agreed with Maas that “effective sanctions” against Russia should be discussed. Both considered the shutdown of Nordstream 2 as “a very sensitive issue”.

Walter-Borjans: Construction freeze harms Germany

Nord Stream 2 is an infrastructure project that is 90 percent ready and also serves to supply Germany, said the SPD chairman. With a construction freeze, Germany will “damage itself and others who should not be hit here at all”. Sanctions must be “targeted” and hit the trade or individuals who are the “moneylenders” of the crime.

In the “Tagesspiegel”, Walter-Borjans added that with Nord Stream 2, Germany was keeping an “alternative to American fracking gas” open. “It could not be explained to anyone to leave a 90 percent completed bridge in ruins. With more than 1,000 completed of a good 1,200 kilometers of pipeline, that’s no different.”

Greens demand a swift termination of the project

However, the green parliamentary leader Katrin Goering-Eckhardt calls for the project to be stopped quickly. The federal government must now show a way how Nord Stream 2 can be discontinued, she told the Tagesspiegel. “The words of Minister Maas about the use of banned chemical weapons must now be followed by action during the EU presidency.” It would be good if members of the federal government started to think critically about the project.

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has also linked the future of the Baltic Sea pipeline to the case of poisoned Russian opposition Alexei Navalny. Maas put it correctly from his point of view: “Russia is mainly in control of whether and how things can continue with Nord Stream 2”, Spahn said Sunday evening in the political lecture “The right questions” on “Bild live”.

After the poisoning of the Kremlin critic, one cannot go back to the normal course of events. It is clearly up to Russia to ease up and get out of its “very defiant stance”. “There is no economic demand that can ultimately outweigh the foreign and security interests of Germany and Europe,” stressed Spahn. Therefore the priorities are clear. Yet one must also see the general context. “There is a lot to consider, in all areas.” Russia has denied involvement in the poisoning of the opposition member and accused the German authorities of delaying the investigation.

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