Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction to resume

Construction on the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is scheduled to resume in Germany today. Construction was halted after

Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

Photo: Bernd Wuestneck/dpa, via Associated Press

Construction on the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is scheduled to resume in Germany today.

Construction was halted after the US imposed sanctions late last year on the project’s Russian partners and any company assisting them on the construction of the pipeline. The US believes that the project will leave Berlin too dependent on Russian gas, endangering European security. Berlin has accused Washington of meddling in a sovereign project.

The project remains unpopular with Eastern European countries, which stand to lose lucrative transit fees from their own gas pipeline networks that Nord Stream 2 will replace. With the prospect of warmer US-German relations under the incoming Biden administration, Chancellor Angela Merkel is likely to heed Biden’s concerns more than Trump’s.

As the pipeline heads into its final construction phase, expect US pressure to intensify, regardless of the change of administration. President-elect Joe Biden also opposes the construction of the pipeline and Congress has expanded sanctions on the project, targeting its insurance in the annual National Defence Authorisation Act. While Biden will likely attempt to kill the pipeline, Germany and Russia have, so far, refused to submit, likely due to the project’s $10 billion cost and lure of ongoing economic benefits.

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