Austria’s new Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that sanctions against the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project due to the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border will harm the European Union. He told about this in an interview with the newspaper Die Welt.
The Chancellor called for the gas pipeline to be put into operation as planned, since EU countries need gas and oil. He stated that it is also important for Austria to ensure energy supply from as many sources as possible.
“I do not associate the commissioning of the Nord Stream-2 with Russia’s behavior in Ukraine. But it is also clear that violence cannot be a political means. Violation of international law will have corresponding consequences, as it has already happened in the past,” Nehammer said.
Earlier, in case Russia invades Ukraine, the US authorities called on Germany to abandon Nord Stream 2, which is supposed to deliver Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany and the EU.
The gas pipeline has already been completed, but has not yet been certified. On December 12, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock explained this by the Nord Stream-2 project not meeting European legal standards. Therefore, it cannot be launched yet. After her statement, the price of gas in Europe exceeded 1,400 dollars per thousand cubic meters for the first time since the beginning of October.
Nehammer's statement continues the line of former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who resigned in October amid a corruption scandal. Kurz also stressed that the construction of the Nord Stream-2 meets the economic interests of Austria.
The previous German government also advocated the implementation of the project. The current coalition of Social Democrats, Free Democrats and Greens does not specifically mention Nord Stream-2 in the Coalition Agreement. However, the Green Party, represented by Baerbock, opposes the implementation of the project.
The USA, Ukraine and a number of EU countries also oppose the construction of the gas pipeline. Opponents of the project believe that Russia will be able to use it as a leverage over other countries. Kiev also fears that due to the Nord Stream-2, gas transit through Ukrainian territory will stop.