Merkel casts doubt on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

Merkel casts doubt on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

Merkel said political considerations must play a role on Nord Stream 2, which would double an existing pipeline's capacity to nearly 30 percent of European Union demand.

Germany, as well as other countries in northern Europe that see the benefits of increased gas supplies, has so far been a strong backer of the project, which would double the current Nord Stream pipeline's annual capacity of 55bn cubic metres.

Speaking at a meeting with the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, in Berlin on Tuesday, Merkel said: "It can not be that Ukraine plays no significance with regards to the transit of gas". "You can just ask us, instead of investing ten billion Euros into the construction of Nord Stream-2", he concluded. But in March Germany issued the final permits needed for construction on its territory and in its waters. German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to consider the impact of a new Russian-German gas pipeline on Ukraine as plans progress. He offered to supply the gas through Ukraine. Ukraine earned around $3 billion in Russian gas transit fees.

Merkel said the issue wasn't about Russian gas and "whether it flows through Ukraine or through the Baltic", but about potential losses for Ukraine. "I clearly indicated that the Nord Stream-2 project is impossible without our clarity about the future role of Ukrainian transit, from our viewpoint", Merkel said.

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"To change the legal foundation retroactively for political reasons would damage the trust in legal certainty", Wolfgang Buechele, chairman of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, said in an emailed statement.

"I also said to President Putin yesterday: it can not be that through Nord Stream 2, Ukraine has no further importance regarding the transit of gas", she said.

A spokesman said it was clear Ukraine would remain a transit country for gas. Of the 170 billion cubic meters of gas shipped to Europe from Russian Federation in 2017, 90 billion went through Ukraine, 50 billion via the Baltic and 30 billion.

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