BERLIN (Dow Jones) – The SPD leadership has backed the German government’s strategy of defending the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline despite recent developments in Russia. With a view to the brutal actions of the Russian government against the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny and the attacks by police officers against demonstrators, one should not go back to the agenda, said party leader Norbert Walter-Borjans of the Rheinische Post. Europe must jointly send a clear stop signal against the attacks. “However, sanctions should hit the perpetrator. Cutting your own flesh with it is not the solution.”
This is not the only reason why the link with a halt to the completion of a 95 percent completed gas pipeline with the Navalny case misses the mark. “Not using the pipeline would not be a trade sanction, it would be the conscious acceptance of a 1,000-kilometer-long ruined infrastructure,” said Walter-Borjans. The pipeline does not make Europe dependent, but independent, “because we are securing alternatives – not just to US fracking gas, but also to oil from countries in which democracy and the rule of law are disregarded,” said the SPD politician.
On Monday, the German government also sharply condemned the events in Russia around Navalny and at the same time rejected a mixture with the Nord Stream 2 gas project. There is no “direct connection” between the two, emphasized government spokesman Steffen Seibert. The SPD in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the gas pipeline is to end, is also a vehement supporter of the project under the leadership of the Russian Gazprom group.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 25, 2021 8:00 PM ET (01:00 GMT)