German Chancellor Olaf Scholz put on ice the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline designed to bring Russian gas to Germany on Tuesday (February 22) after Russia formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.
Europe’s most divisive energy project, Nord Stream 2 is designed to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany, bypassing traditional transit nation Ukraine, on the bed of the Baltic Sea.
It has faced resistance within the European Union, from the United States as well as Ukraine, on the grounds it increases Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, denies Ukraine transit fees and makes it more vulnerable to Russian invasion.
“Without this certification Nord Stream 2 can’t become operational,” Scholz said at a news conference with his Irish counterpart, adding that the economy ministry would look again at the certification process given Russia’s actions.
The German government had long said Nord Stream 2 was primarily a commercial project that diversifies energy supplies for Europe.
Europe’s largest economy depends on Russia for around half its energy needs.