German SPD official defends pro-Nord Stream 2 policy

The pipeline was completed in September, but is awaiting approval from German and European regulators, and some politicians – in Germany and abroad – have said it should be blocked due to several political disagreements with Russia.

“Nord Stream 2 is, so to speak, almost connected to the network, only the lack of legal permissions hindering the definitive start of operations,” SPD secretary general Kevin Kuehnert said in an interview.

“At some point there has to be political and legal peace in such a discussion,” he added.

Kuehnert said the project, led by Russian company Gazprom, should not be confused with responses to Russia’s territorial controversies with Ukraine and human rights issues, where Berlin had clear positions and diplomatic strategies.

The SPD’s support for the pipeline under the Baltic Sea, a geopolitical irritant for the United States and countries like Ukraine and Poland, contrasts with the stance of its junior coalition partner the Greens, but reflects the stance of the ‘Former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats’ (CDU).

Merkel said the pipeline was a commercial project, a line operated by SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In another taunt against the Greens over the EU’s energy definitions – which classified nuclear power and gas as climate-friendly – Kuehnert said trying to reject the Brussels proposals was “utopian”, given that Germany’s opposition to nuclear power put it in a minority position.

The EU also supports the use of gas as a transitional technology under certain conditions until renewable energies and clean hydrogen can replace it. Kuehnert said a majority of environmental groups accepted this reasoning.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke Written by Vera Eckert Editing by Mark Potter)

By Andreas Rinke

James R. Rhodes