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German regional leader urges restoration of Nord Stream: report

21.03.2023 07:30
A senior German politician has called for the restoration of the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which was partly blown up by unidentified perpetrators in September, saying it could help rebuild bilateral relations in the future, according to a report.
Michael Kretschmer.
Michael Kretschmer.PAP/DPA/Heiko Rebsch

Michael Kretschmer, who is the governor of Germany’s eastern state of Saxony, has repeatedly suggested that the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, designed to bring Russian natural gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea, “need to be rebuilt,” Poland’s interia.pl website has reported.  

Last week, German utility E.ON, which owns a stake in Nord Stream 1, said that the restoration of the two pipelines was possible, the website said.

Keeping 'options open in energy policy'

In an interview with the Focus magazine on Sunday, Kretschmer said that restoring Nord Stream 1 would cost EUR 100 million and would allow Germany “to keep its options open in energy policy,” as cited by interia.pl.

Kretschmer, who represents Germany's conservative CDU party, said: “This infrastructure is worth around EUR 8 billion and can carry hydrogen as well as gas. After [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s departure, the pipeline could help his successor restore our economic ties.”

Kretschmer added, as quoted by interia.pl: “It can still be repaired, anyway. But soon the damage will become irreversible."  

He conceded that “unfortunately the war won’t end in the next few weeks,” but argued that "the pipeline must be repaired now, to be an option in five years’ time,” according to interia.pl. 

'It is risky to say Nord Stream is not necessary'

The Focus interviewer noted that the Nord Stream pipelines attracted much controversy in eastern Europe, and asked Kretschmer why this mattered less to him than relations with Russia, according to interia.pl.  

Kretschmer replied, as cited by interia.pl: “From Germany’s point of view, what matters most is the supply of energy to Germany." 

He argued that demand for electricity was rising in his country, adding that liquefied natural gas (LNG), was “expensive” and left “as big a climate footprint as facilities fired by lignite,” interia.pl reported.

For these reasons, “it is risky to say Nord Stream is not necessary,” Kretschmer told Focus, according to the Polish website.

He added, as cited by interia.pl: “For the sake of future generations, it is important that it is operational."

Kretschmer also stated that Germany’s involvement in helping Ukraine repel the Russian invasion, “has diminished Berlin’s potential as a mediator in potential peace negotiations,” interia.pl reported.

He agreed with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that “for now, Vladimir Putin doesn’t want to negotiate,” according to interia.pl. 

Kretschmer stressed, however, that “more diplomatic efforts need to be made,” in cooperation with the United States, China, India and ”other big countries,” interia.pl reported.       

Tuesday is day 391 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: interia.pl, focus.de