Poland continues to see Nord Stream 2 as threat to Europe - dep FM
The US-German deal on the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) Russia-Germany gas pipeline does not change Poland's belief that the project is detrimental to the security of the whole of Europe, a deputy foreign minister has said.
On Wednesday, Washington and Berlin agreed to end a long-standing dispute over NS2 under which the United States agreed to lift its sanctions on companies involved in the project. In exchange, Germany pledged to invest in Ukrainian projects and to impose sanctions on Russia should Moscow adopt a hostile policy.
But the project has been bitterly opposed by Central and Eastern European countries. They argue the pipeline, which bypasses their region, could be used by the Kremlin to exert pressure on the EU's eastern members and Ukraine.
The US-Germany agreement on the controversial project was discussed on Thursday by Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz with the visiting Counselor of the US Department of State, Derek Chollet.
Przydacz said that during the meeting he presented Chollet with Poland's assessment of the NS2 project.
"Poland considers this project to be detrimental to the security of not only Ukraine, not only Central Europe, but also to the security of the whole of Europe, making the EU dependent on Russian gas, contrary to earlier declarations regarding the need to diversify energy sources," Przydacz said.
He added that the Wednesday agreement between the US and Germany does not change Poland's assessment of the project.
"The very fact of the construction of this project, but also the agreement, which... does not fully respond to these threats, is perceived by many as an element that violates the sense of not only stability, but also of allied trust," Przydacz told a Thursday press briefing.
He also said that the Nord Stream 2 project is "a kind of geopolitical project."
"Against the earlier assurances of the German side, which emphasized that this is a business project... the great political commitment, also from Chancellor Angela Merkel herself, shows that this is a political project," Przydacz said.
He added that "as a political tool" it may have a destabilizing effect on the security situation, especially in Central Europe.
NS2 is the second line of the already existing Nord Stream pipeline that goes from Russia along the Baltic seabed to Germany. Before the pipeline was built, Russia was forced to make agreements with Ukraine when sending gas to Western Europe.
Polish and Ukrainian foreign ministers, Zbigniew Rau and Dmytro Kuleba, in a joint statement issued on Wednesday, called upon the US and Germany to find an adequate response to what they see as an emerging security crisis in Central and Eastern Europe, with Russia as the main beneficiary of the latest development.
Nord Stream's two lines, each stretching 1,200 kilometres, will be able to pump 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia to Germany every year.