HBL (Finland): from the U.S. sanctions will hurt the EU, not Putin

Construction of the pipeline “Nord stream — 2” is idle since the end of last year. By the time of the vessel to a pipelaying left to pave at least 200 out of nearly 2,500 kilometers of pipes. Then the contractor went out of business under the threat of us sanctions.

In mid-July, the United States opposed the “Nord stream — 2” is even tougher. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo (Mike Pompeo) has called on all businesses that are related to the construction of the pipeline to stop cooperating with the project. Knock it off or be prepared for the consequences — so it is very clear commented Pompeo.

The pipeline that goes from Russia to Germany along the bottom of the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic sea, from the very beginning caused a lot of controversy. Estonia and Poland opposed its construction, in Sweden, talked about the military threat, and in Denmark could not make a decision about the pipeline in Danish waters.

For the Danish delay the construction of several behind schedule. But the threat of us sanctions completely stopped it. Originally the launch of the pipeline was scheduled for the end of 2019. The new expected date of completion of the company have not yet called.

“We will inform you as soon as we will have a new pipe-layer,” — said in the “Nord stream — 2”. In July the American news Agency Bloomberg reported that the Russian ship “Akademik Chersky” approaching the construction site. This ship, the Russian energy Minister Alexander Novak earlier mentioned as a potential solution to the problem.

European politics does not take new US threats to toughen sanctions. Of course, “Nord stream — 2” is owned by Russian Gazprom, but his Finance and big energy companies of Germany, France, Austria and the Netherlands. They have invested in the project about one billion euros.

According to estimates of the “Nord stream”, the new U.S. sanctions, if they come into force, will cover over 120 companies in 12 European countries. They directly block the investment of approximately 700 million Euro, and indirectly affected more. Meanwhile, these investments Europe is needed, because of the economies of many countries suffered because of the crisis caused by a coronavirus.

European politicians did not hesitate in expressions, commenting on the threat Pompeo. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the behavior of Americans is contrary to the view of the Germans about the rule of law. But not only the Germans harshly criticized the sanctions plans. The Austrian Ministry of foreign Affairs also said that Austria is opposed to unilateral sanctions and advocated dialogue.

France adheres to the same position. Now we are talking about energy, but it can hurt every other industry, said the French. Time for Europe to show force and to cease to tolerate encroachment on their right to make independent decisions about energy supplies. Europe USA is not the enemy, said France.

The American argument, that Europe is becoming more dependent on Russian energy sources is also no longer tenable. Of course, Russia is indeed the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, but the market is open and attended by other gas suppliers. About a fifth of imports to the EU of gas necessary for the liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is purchased from other suppliers. Including from the USA there are commercial interests to export it to Europe.

The fact that the new pipeline hurts Ukraine, is also a dubious argument. Gazprom promised to continue shipments through Ukraine until at least 2024. And Ukraine from Russian gas is not affected — she can buy it from any European country.

As many people want to abandon coal, and Germany — and even from nuclear power, Europe needs alternative sources of energy. Natural gas will use for a long time, and the demand for it will continue to grow. Therefore, the capacity to import gas must be sufficient to formed in the EU market continues to operate smoothly.