Germany will decide on the pipeline's future / REUTERS
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell says that the decision to freeze the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is in the hands of Germany, rather than the European Union.
Mr Borrell said that it was "up to the Germans" — who identified the use of novichok nerve agent — to decide whether to retaliate over the case of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny by stopping the Nord Stream 2 project to pipe Russian gas to the country, the Financial Times reported on September 13.
"Nord Stream 2 is not a European project. I have to say that the commission has never shown a strong enthusiasm for Nord Stream 2," he said.
Navalny poisoning: Background
- On August 20, Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny felt sick on board the plane he was flying to the city of Tomsk 20. His rapidly deteriorating condition forced the captain to perform an emergency landing in Omsk. Two days later, he was evacuated from Omsk to Charite hospital in Berlin, Germany.
- On September 4, it became known that experts from the German military's Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology in Munich had found traces of a toxic substance from the Novichok group in samples of Navalny's blood, urine and skin. European politicians have repeatedly called on Russia to investigate Navalny's poisoning.
- On September 4, ambassadors of all 30 NATO member states at a special meeting called for an international investigation into the poisoning of Navalny.
- On September 6, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he hoped that "the Russians won't force us to change our position regarding the Nord Stream 2" pipeline in connection with the poisoning of Navalny. Yet, he acknowledged that the refusal to complete the pipeline would harm the interests of a number of firms from Germany and other European countries.
- On the same day, Germany's Federal Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she was ready to discuss the issue of imposing sanctions against Russia, including regarding the unfinished Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
- What is more, a representative of the German Chancellor said on September 7 that Angela Merkel did not exclude that the situation around the poisoning of Navalny could tell on the future of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- On September 8, 2020, the Kremlin said that they did not see grounds for negotiations with Germany on Nord Stream 2.
- On the same day, September 8, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, that Germany should stop building Nord Stream 2.
- On September 9, 2020, Poland offered Germany an alternative to Nord Stream 2.
- On September 11, 2020, the German authorities announced that they were considering the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 construction as a reaction to the situation with the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Navalny.