Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of the US State for European and Eurasian affairs, criticized Germany over its ongoing support for a new Russian gas pipeline to Europe and praised Denmark for passing a piece of legislation that could complicate the project. The US official said that the new cabinet in Germany offered an opportunity for the US to hamper the Russian pipeline – Nord Stream 2 – which the White House fears will give Kremlin more leverage over Europe’s energy affairs.
Mr. Mitchell said the new German government gives Washington a chance to call on Berlin “to show responsibility in a European context.” Referring to the country’s support for the Russian gas pipeline, Mr. Mitchell said in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “on energy security, Germany gets it wrong,” adding that Germany “gets it wrong in a way that hurts other EU member states.” The German Economics Ministry did not want to comment on the criticism. “For us, Nord Stream 2 is a corporate project,” said spokeswoman Tanja Alemany.
Mr. Mitchell, however, praised Copenhagen for a law allowing Denmark to block pipelines from crossing its territorial waters on foreign policy or security grounds. He added that other countries whose territorial waters would be traversed by Nord Stream 2 are also considering where they stand on the project, also citing environmental impact.
Nord Stream 2 is a wholly owned subsidiary of Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom and it would double Russia’s exports to Europe by adding another link between Russia and Germany. The $10 billion project is planned as a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Wintershall AG, Uniper SE , OMV AG and Engie SA, despite the 100% ownership by Gazprom. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the pipeline as “unwise”, arguing that the project would only boost Russia’s dominance as a single supplier to Europe.