The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is one of the ways for Germany to meet its growing energy demand, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has said, rebuffing criticism that the project increases Russia’s energy leverage on Berlin.
Germany will have an increased demand for natural gas, as the country is phasing out coal and nuclear power, the minister said in an interview to Bild shortly before his trip to the US – one of the most vocal critics of the Nord Stream 2 project.
“We do not depend on Russia. It is about shortening delivery routes and creating new supply structures,” Altmaier said. He added that the completion of the pipeline, designed to deliver Russian gas to Europe, serves the same purpose as building new terminals for American liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the country.
The statement came as the Nord Stream 2 received another barrage of criticism, this time from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). On Sunday, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s committee adopted a resolution against the Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream projects, labeling them a tool that Moscow could allegedly use for its political purposes.
Russian officials have already slammed the OSCE resolution as an attempt to pressure countries involved in the project, which is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.
“These resolutions reflect only the West’s position that is geared to contain, isolate and discredit Russia, to divert potential partners from it,” Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, told RT.
The US has frequently spoken out against the construction of the pipeline as it promotes the sale of its own LNG to Europe. European investors are reluctant to bow to the pressure, with Austria and Germany repeatedly stressing the importance of the pipeline for them.
Altmaier’s visit to the US comes as Berlin and Washington have several other points of contention apart from the energy projects with Russia. In addition to tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum from the EU, US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on European cars, which would be a huge blow to Germany as one of the largest direct car exporters to the US.
Commenting on the matter, the economy minister said he hopes Berlin and Washington can come to an agreement, but this would require eliminating all tariffs on industrial products.