WASHINGTON, July 22. /TASS/. The US-German agreement on the situation around the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline imposes significant obligations, including financial ones, on Berlin, and will also cause a flurry of criticism from the US Congress against the Washington administration, President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University Jeff Rathke told TASS.
"The German government is happy with the deal of course, because it will remove the threat of sanctions, but it comes with some significant commitments - some of those are financial with regard to Ukraine, and others are political, such as the German commitment to take national action if Russia commits aggressive acts toward Ukraine," he said.
According to the expert, "the United States hopes that this will allow the German-American partnership, which has been enjoying a renaissance under the Biden administration, to develop still further in pursuit of shared objectives such as European security. If that is successful, it will be a longer-term success for Washington, even though the Biden administration will have to weather a storm of criticism from the Congress".
Rathke believes that the Biden administration is trying to resolve the dilemma raised by Nord Stream 2. "There is a deep antipathy to the project in the United States, and both the Democrats and Republicans are opposed to it. At the same time, there are limits to how far the United States can go in opposing Nord Stream 2 without affecting other U.S. interests with Germany. The deal with Germany is an attempt to solidify German support for Ukraine and create a positive EU dynamic on energy issues," he said.
The expert did not unequivocally answer the question about who wins and who loses from the deal, and whether the reached agreements can be considered a compromise for all parties. "I would hesitate to characterize the compromise for all parties affected, and I won’t analyze Sen. Cruz’s comment," he added.
About the project
Washington openly opposes the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and is making active efforts aimed at blocking the project primarily in order to strike at Moscow's interests and to support Ukraine as a country of transit for Russian natural gas to Europe. In addition, many experts point out that the United States is trying to push supplies of its liquefied natural gas to the European market, which is much more expensive than the Russian pipeline. The legislation adopted in the United States over the past few years provides, among other things, the possibility of applying unilateral restrictive measures against companies participating in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project.
The project includes the construction of two lines of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters of gas per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The throughput capacity of each of line is 27.5 bln cubic meters per year. The new pipeline will double the capacity of the first Nord Stream, the route of which it will largely repeat.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on May 19 that Washington has abandoned sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig. According to Blinken, this decision is in the national interests of the United States. At the same time, Washington decided to apply restrictive measures against a number of Russian participants in the construction of the gas pipeline. The sole shareholder of Nord Stream 2 AG is Gazprom.