Energy experts Robert Dillon and Martin Zirusek write that stopping the construction of the North Stream 2 gas pipeline and burying it at the bottom of the Baltic Sea will not benefit anyone at this time.
Robert Dillon is an energy conservation analyst at the Rainey Center for Public Policy Thinking Group in Washington, D.C. and former communications director for the Senate Natural Resources Committee in the United States.
Martin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations and European Studies in the Faculty of Social Studies at the University of Zurzek Masarik. He specializes in energy policy and the Atlantic dimension of security in post-communist Europe.
It seems under the new US president Joe Bidenem US pressure on Nord Stream 2 eases. Earlier this year, the new presidential administration realized that it was too late to halt the project and that it would be good to try to repair Atlantic relations, which had suffered many setbacks during the previous administration.
Joe Biden’s more accommodating and less confrontational approach makes sense in the long run. A strong Atlantic alliance between the United States and the European Union is even more important in the American political debate, which has raised some concerns about Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. In addition, there are rumors in Europe that the US concern over Europe’s pro-gas bias may not be entirely honest and may in fact be triggered by the commercial interests of US gas exporters. This is also a bit exaggerated. Thus, a misunderstanding on both sides of the Atlantic is evident, which contributes significantly to the current rift. At the time of burying the ax of this war.
As the White House spokesman noted Just Sackie, President Biden still firmly believes that North Stream 2 is for Europe Too badHowever, further sanctions are one of the possible measures to be considered by management. It does not matter how the new president views the Russian gas pipeline project, the new administration must urgently compromise with Germany. However, at the same time, he should not lose face with a very gentle move towards Russia. Especially after Joe Biden announced in the campaign that he would return to evaluate foreign policy. Moreover, in the domestic scenario, it is clear that despite the alleged concessions to Russia, he will face harsh criticism from Republicans, who have been waiting for any setback for the Democratic president since last month’s escalation.
The first signs of a change in attitude towards the pipeline in question appeared last month when Joe Biden spoke in the tradition. Munich Security Conference, He stressed the importance of joint US-European action against Russian and Chinese military and economic aspirations. Although he openly focused on Russia, he did not mention the North Stream Pipeline, which has exacerbated Atlantic relations in recent years.
A few days later, the US State Department released a list of companies allowed to work on the pipeline. In this list, one of the Russian ships involved in the pipe version, Fortune, And its owner KVT-RUS. A dozen European companies involved in the project The ministry, however, avoided a significant setback from the previous militant rhetoric. This is a significant blow to the conflict between the United States and the European Union, and the sanctions imposed on European companies at the moment when the EU opposed last year’s US action. The fence was put up. Current circuit barriers are mainly motivated by retaliation for poisoning Alexei Navalny And Nortstream 2, at least for now, has slipped out of management’s view.
The future of the regime that approved the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its implementation by the United States is not yet clear. Not only major design firms such as Engi, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Windsor, but also the access of US authorities, restrictions on access to the US market or Sanctions To its representatives. Other companies involved in the pipeline project, for example, had to deal with risk by providing management, consulting or financial services. The United States seems to have taken the time to think about how to inflict the least possible parallel damage to relations with allies.
So how do you push the Kremlin, while at the same time freeing ties with the EU? The Biden administration must abandon the policy of headless conflict without contingency planning. The key is a creative approach In collaboration With European countries, they are not though. The first step is to understand what North Stream 2 is doing in practice and to minimize the need to block its completion. In addition, it can cause even more damage. This is not a surrender to Russian pressure, but politics is more of an art than ever.
The siege of the Baltic gas pipeline will not prevent Russia or Germany from importing Russian gas. After all, it already meets more than 60% of its energy needs by importing from abroad. As for natural gas, even 90% of it, Nord Stream 2 considers our western neighbor a major project. Angela Merkel, As well as its successor as leader of the party Armin Lacet, Despite growing controversy, has so far remained steadfast in supporting the pipeline Foreign resistance, Purely in the sense of its practical “economy over politics” approach.
While the debate over the cancellation of gas pipeline construction is still spinning, it has already, symbolically and literally, moved to another level. Stopping it is the last but not the least by the companies involved against the EU for uncontrollable sharpening of relations between Russia and the West and failed investments. In the view of investors the cessation of construction at this time represents a real question mark over the regulatory stability of the business environment, which should also be taken into account as a serious precedent. Given that geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West have long been known, the construction of the gas pipeline began in 2018, and it cannot be said that the problem has just arisen. Participating companies will undoubtedly use this argument, and that would be correct. Going down the brakes when the pipeline disappears a few tens of thousands of kilometers from the finish line will not solve anything. The potential geopolitical implications of this construction were clear long before the first sections of the pipeline went to sea, so we can now only minimize the consequences of decisions made many years ago.
If the goal of the protest against the gas pipeline is to be a prominent place in Russia, i.e. its budget, the opposition is directed towards the goal. European countries import annually Nearly 200 billion Its irreplaceable role in the supply of cubic meters of natural gas from Russia will not change in the coming years. Nord Stream 2 is an indication of European dependence on Russian imports, not its cause. In addition, the pipeline often changes the route of transport through Eastern Europe. This is not a significant increase in Russian gas imports as a result of the new transport route across the Baltic Sea.
On the other hand, Cosprom’s efforts to maintain trade relations with its most important market are clear. The Russian gas company eagerly avoids any reference to politicization, so as not to question the image of a reliable and trusted business partner and supplier. After all, there are almost no European imports of Russian raw materials Half of Russia’s budget revenue It is not in the Kremlin’s interests to affect this relationship. Therefore, in the eyes of the EU, it is unlikely that the pipeline will become a gear lever of Russian influence. In addition, thanks to flexible infrastructure and internal market rules, the EU can resist such a move.
But what to do with the new Russian gas pipeline connection that has been consistently mentioned in discussions as an instrument of influence in light of current Russian-European and Russian-American relations? At this time, with the pipeline some ten kilometers away from its target, its completion and subsequent strict compliance with the regulatory rules of the EU gas market appears to be the most sustainable and constructive strategy. In this case, the rules of the internal market, as represented by the policies of the Third Liberalization package in particular, are able to ensure that Russian gas is “dissolving” in the European market and that the Kremlin and Gosprom can not put pressure on individual countries. .
The importance of ensuring compliance with Cosprom rules is that it does not create barriers to the free flow of gas and adhering to transparent pricing is an important strategy. The past decade has also proven that Cosprom has succeeded in forcing behavior change. From the original rule maker, it became a market company. From a consumer point of view, a flexible European market is only “one of many” and the EU has the tools to monitor its behavior. Such a regime would be more effective than reaction barriers. The weapons possessed by the EU in this regard are relatively large.
Ukraine’s fears that it could further expand with reduced gas traffic through its territory, and that it would lose a significant portion of its tariffs, could be resolved through a deal to maintain a certain level of transport in the coming years. Such a compromise Agreement After all, it is currently in effect by the end of 2025.
Stopping the North Stream 2 gas pipeline and burying it at the bottom of the Baltic Sea will be of no use to anyone at this time. In addition to the environmental risks, there is a particular risk of escalating the controversy, the main argument coming from across the Atlantic – increasing dependence on Russia – is odd. Good Atlantic relations with the European Union and especially with Germany are important to the United States. The term of office of the President of the United States is short and the priorities are clear. America’s strategy must change.