Insurance companies massively refuse to help build the pipeline
At least 18 European companies have already withdrawn or have pledged to end their participation in the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project following the expansion of US sanctions against Russia.
This was reported by the German newspaper Tagesspiegel with reference to the report of the US Secretary of State to Congress.
These companies included the German industrial and construction services provider Bilfinger from Mannheim and the insurer Munich Re Syndicate Limited.
Basically, we are talking about insurance companies with headquarters mainly in the UK. In addition, the list includes Zurich Insurance Group and Paris-based Axa Group.
Recall that in mid-January, the Swiss insurance company Zurich Insurance refused to participate in Nord Stream 2 due to the risk of falling under new US sanctions.
It was also reported that in September 2020, other leading international insurers refused to work with Nord Stream 2.
Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing US policy on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline after resuming construction of the $11 billion project this month.
This is reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The Nord Stream 2 subsea pipeline is more than 90% complete, with just over 100 kilometers remaining to be laid. Construction resumed on February 6, more than a year after it stalled amid opposition from the Trump administration and acts of Congress that impose sanctions on companies and individuals involved in the projects.
So far, the Biden administration has not imposed the sanctions required by law.
However, it has now begun talks with Berlin about the future of the pipeline, including “threats of sanctions against companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2,” a German official said.
According to the newspaper, the administration is approaching a deadline on Tuesday when it must report a list of companies that may become a potential target of US sanctions. The United States may also refuse to impose sanctions due to national interests.
According to sources, members of the National Security Council met to discuss the pipeline, including Germany’s willingness to impose a moratorium on the project.
Earlier, the chairman of the Bundestag Committee on International Affairs, Norbert Ryotgen, proposed a moratorium on the construction of Nord Stream 2 as an alternative to sanctions.
In the German Bundestag, a debate was held on the sentencing of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, at which the deputies from the Green and Free Democratic parties demanded to freeze the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as sanctions against the Russian authorities.
This is reported by the ZDF.de edition.
Green MP Oliver Crusher criticized the federal government for being a private economic project for Nord Stream 2: “When it comes to economic interests, don’t politics and human rights play anymore?”
And the deputy of the FDP faction Alexander Graf Lambsdorf called friendly relations with Russia “currently impossible.”
“Russia has gone out of the way of democracy,” Lambsdorf said and called for a halt to the construction of Nord Stream 2. “We are indebted to the democrats who take to the streets at -28.”
In response, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the sanctions should not cause indirect damage to German companies, and called on to think about possible geostrategic consequences. According to the diplomat, Russia’s economic isolation will only lead to its being in China’s arms.
“And I don’t think this should be the West’s strategy in this dispute. They are creating the largest economic and military alliance available. This is not only wrong but also dangerous,” Maas said.
The Foreign Minister said that he was against destroying all bridges in relations with Russia, and added that one of the arguments in favor of keeping the Russian Federation in the Council of Europe is that Russians have the opportunity to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel considers extraterritorial sanctions restrictions “not the best way” as a method for resolving existing differences.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel considers the differences in the position of Western countries, including the United States of America, regarding the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project, not as large-scale as it might seem.
“As for Nord Stream 2, we often said that, on the one hand, it is an economic project, on the other hand, it has political implications, and this plays a big role in transatlantic relations,” Merkel said within the framework of the press conference.
As Merkel recalled, the European Union had previously adopted legislative changes in this context, pointing to the so-called Third Energy Project. Merkel spoke about the developed mechanisms of work that will avoid falling into one-sided dependence and not end up in “dangerous waters.” At the same time, as the German Chancellor emphasized, since the Cold War period, gas supplies were carried out on the basis of negotiations and contracts with Russia (the former Soviet Union).
Angela Merkel reported on a discussion with Emmanuel Macron, who heads France, about possible energy supply problems. She drew attention to the fact that France has its own nuclear power industry, and therefore the importance of gas for it is much less high than for Germany. Now, as Merkel said, Germany is completing the use of both nuclear and coal energy. It is for this reason that Germany needs gas to be used as a “transitional source” to renewable energy.
Nord Stream 2 envisages the construction of two pipelines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year. His main opponents are the United States of America.
The authorities of some member states of the European Union have previously made proposals to include the Nord Stream 2 project as one of the points of discussion on new sanctions restrictions against the Russian Federation, but Berlin’s position will remain unchanged, said Christopher Burger, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Germany.
“This has been proposed in the past by various European governments, so this is not news. At the same time, you know the position of the German government on this matter, in which … nothing has changed, “Burger replied to a question from a press representative about whether the Nord Stream 2 project is” part of the discussions on sanctions in the EU “ against the RF.
Speaking about the position taken by France on Nord Stream 2, Burger clarified that “this position … we, of course, know”, against the background of which Berlin does not know whether this position has somehow changed.
Note that earlier, Clement Bon, who holds the post of Secretary of State at the French Foreign Ministry, on the air of the France Inter radio station said that it seemed to him a very real decision to expand restrictions against the Russian Federation against the background of the situation with blogger Alexei Navalny. Bon emphasized that the European Union “is considering an option” to extend the effect of possible sanctions restrictions to Nord Stream 2.
We will remind, in the European Parliament, last week adopted a resolution against the background of the arrest of Navalny. On the basis of the document, the European Union is required to immediately “prevent the completion of the project”, as well as “sensibly strengthen” the effect of restrictive measures against the Russian Federation.