Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has criticized the discussion of the shutdown of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny. “One has nothing to do with the other,” said the current head of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline company’s board of directors in a new episode of his podcast “Gerhard Schröder – The Agenda”.
He stressed that EUR 10 billion in investment would be wasted if the near-completed gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea is not completed. He also pointed out that the responsibility for poisoning Navalny with the chemical warfare agent Novichok had not yet been clarified. “What is currently being done is essentially speculation, because (…) there are no reliable facts.”
Schröder worked closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his time as Chancellor and is still close friends with him today. After the end of his political career, the former SPD leader held various leadership positions in the Russian energy industry. In addition to his position at Nord Stream 2, he is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Russian state energy company Rosneft and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the already existing Nord Stream pipeline.
After the poisoning of opposition politician Navalny was proven by a special laboratory of the Bundeswehr, the candidates for the CDU presidency, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen, questioned a construction freeze or even a halt of the pipeline project.
Pipes for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline are located on the island of Rügen Photo: Jens Büttner / dpa
Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier (CDU) have now spoken out against it. Schröder applauded this: “I hope the federal government will stick to this position, as it is in Germany’s interest.”
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Schröder described Germany’s demand for Russia to clarify the matter as justified. He also called on the German government to provide the Russian authorities with information through mutual legal assistance. “It’s a completely normal process that we don’t have to talk about for long,” he said. Russia has now submitted three requests for mutual legal assistance to Germany.
Schröder described the criticism in Germany of his work for Russian energy companies as “gossip” that it was mainly the Greens and that he was not interested. The energy partnership with Russia is primarily in the interest of Germany. “We have to secure our energy supply. And I don’t see how we can do that at reasonable prices without Russia. “
US President Donald Trump has criticized Nord Stream 2 for years and accuses Germany of allowing itself to be militarily protected from Russia, while providing Moscow with high revenues from gas exports. Critics accuse him only of wanting to prevent the pipeline in order to sell more American liquid gas in Europe. (dpa)