The German government on Thursday classified the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a top-secret security assessment from 2021.Published four months before the outbreak of war, it argued that energy supplies would not be “threatened” by dependence on Russian gas.
The document, dated October 26, 2021, was adopted in the final days of former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s outgoing government, in which current German President Olaf Scholz played a key role as vice chancellor.
The controversial comment presents an exceptionally naïve view of the threats posed by Germany’s substantial dependence on Russian gas supplies.It grew steadily in the years before the war with Moscow. It also defies concerns from Eastern European partners such as Poland and Ukraine, who have long warned that Nord Stream 2, an undersea gas pipeline aimed at transporting natural gas directly from Russia to northern Germany, would increase the risk of an energy threat. Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Overall, the assessment leads to the conclusion that the certificate is granted [dla Nord Stream 2] There is no threat to the security of gas supply in Germany and the EU.” – We read in the document.
“For both the German market and neighboring markets, the risk of a severe weakening of security of supply due to failures of individual import infrastructures is extremely low” – the government document reads, and this assessment is contradicted. The current suspension of Russian gas supplies to Germany The ensuing gas shortage and energy crisis forced Berlin earlier this month to adopt a massive, unprecedented 200 billion euro gas price cut package to protect households and businesses from rising prices.
Instead, Nord Stream 2 would “increase the resilience of the European gas supply system by providing an additional capacity buffer for peak demand,” the opinion concluded.
Although the assessment takes into account a scenario where Russia cuts off gas flows to Europe, it classifies such a risk as very low, “Gas supplies from the Soviet Union and later from Russia to Germany remained reliable and contractual even during periods of political tension for decades,” it asserts.
In addition, the document asserts that 71% of the total could be replaced if liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals were required in other EU countries such as Belgium or France. Russian gas is flowing – although this decision is based on the assumption that sufficient LNG supplies can be readily found.
In the government’s view, fears that Russian state-owned gas supplier Gazprom would breach supply contracts or EU law have been ruled out. By suggesting that German regulators could simply step in and convince the Russians—in retrospect—this was a fallacy.
The release of the assessment follows journalists from German magazine Der Spiegel requesting access to the document.
However, the timing of the release is problematic, as he said on Tuesday he was “always certain” that Putin would use the energy supply “as a weapon”.
Scholz’s bold statement has already sparked criticism for the current chancellor’s key role in the previous government and his record in promoting and securing Nord Stream 2 earlier this year. Although the government’s assessment was written by the Economy Ministry, led by former minister Peter Altmaier of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), it will raise questions about how closely Scholz was involved in its approval as a former vice chancellor.
A spokesman for Scholz was not immediately available for comment.
Germany withdrew its controversial security assessment and shut down Nord Stream 2 just days before Russia invaded Ukraine.
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