ST. PETERSBURG, June 6. /TASS/. European partners participating in the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project are afraid of the United States’ sanctions but are not withdrawing from the project, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin told TASS on Thursday.
"Naturally, the European partners investing in this major economic, I would like to stress, purely economic, not political, project don’t feel comfortable now. They are nervous. They see pressure, they see threats aiming at their interests," he said. "They are deeply thinking and they are afraid. Especially it concerns global diversified businesses which have a niche on various regional markets, along with Europe’s, and which depend on the US currency system. Nevertheless, none of the European partners has totally withdrawn."
"We would like our European partners to continue to hold on because the Nord Stream construction is in full swing. Everything is all right in all respects, both legal and financial, and in what concerns the laying of pipes and so on," Pankin noted. "It is very important that European business and all of us who speak on this topic stress that if we speak about diversification of routes and supplies why should we refuse from a possibility of yet another reliable transit channel as this channel is reliable in all respects and it is cheap since once put into operation Nord Stream will lower wholesale gas prices for Europeans by 13%"
According to the Russian senior diplomat, advantages of Russian pipeline gas are not reduced to its competitive edge in comparison with liquefied gas. "The construction of a new pipeline will create more than 30,000 jobs in European Union countries only and it is a positive thing in the current economic situation," Pankin argued. "More to it, Nord Stream will not replace Ukrainian transit completely - it doesn’t have capacity enough for that. But it is obvious that it will ensure reliability, environmental safety and economic efficiency for our European partners."
He called not to politicize the Nord Stream-2 project considering it as Russia’s tool to increase its influence in Europe. "It is nonsense that Europe will become more dependent on Russia," Pankin stressed. "People tend to overlook that Western Europe depends on Russian gas by 30% while Russian gas supplies to Europe stand at 70% This is who depends. And this is an interdependence and once it is interdependence we should demonstrate a calm, well-balanced approach, reckoning with, as diplomats would say, the balance of the parties’ interests.".