Germany rejects France’s call to halt construction on Nord Stream 2 pipeline over Navalny detention

1 Feb, 2021

Germany said it plans to complete the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline project despite opposition from France over Moscow’s jailing of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

The stance of the German government “has not changed” in recent days, deputy government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said on Monday in Berlin, after France’s secretary of state for Europe Clément Beaune asked Germany to halt the project.

A spokesman for Germany’s Federal Foreign Office in Berlin told Die Welt that although the project is going ahead, the German government was aware of the French position and having a “very close exchange” with Paris on the pipeline issue.

Russia supplies around 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas, with that proportion having increased last month, according to Russian energy giant Gazprom. Nord Stream 2 will allow this gas to be transited directly into Europe, bypassing Ukraine.

Even before the detention of Navalny and subsequent protests in Russia, the pipeline was bitterly opposed by the US, with Washington imposing sanctions on the project and offering American-produced Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as its own pricier alternative.

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