He recalled that now some countries of the European Union and the United States are putting serious pressure on Germany to prevent the project’s implementation. Nevertheless, the diplomat believes that stopping the construction is a “very bad idea,” as it will entail a painful lawsuit with the prospect of causing multi-billion damage to Gazprom and the unfinished gas pipeline at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
“Whether someone likes it or not, Germany and other European countries will need Russian gas for many years to come,”Ischinger said.
In his opinion, there is a “less attractive” option, involving the completion of the “Nord Stream-2”, provided that the operation of the gas pipeline will depend on the decisions of the EU and the behavior of Russia. The diplomat emphasizes that three steps must be taken to do this.
First, Germany should introduce a mechanism for an emergency shutdown of the Nord Stream-2 with the possibility of EU access to it.
Second, Berlin could offer Brussels and Washington a “Euro-Atlantic energy Treaty” that proclaims an early transition to renewable energy sources, strengthening the European gas market’s integrity and strengthening support for Ukraine and its economic development. According to Ischinger, Moscow could also join this agreement.
Third, Germany can link the start of the gas pipeline to Russia’s compliance with some political conditions, such as the Ukrainian issue and the case of Alexei Navalny.
The head of the Munich Conference stressed that whatever approach is chosen, Berlin must coordinate its actions with the European Commission, the United States, and partners in Eastern Europe to support the “new transatlantic romance” and turn “an unnecessary millstone around Germany’s neck” into a “strategic trump card.”