European People's Party leader Manfred Weber, a candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, has reiterated his promise to do his best to block the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if he is finally nominated for the new job.
When asked about his position on Nord Stream 2, Weber told Polska Times newspaper that he is up in arms against this project, which he claimed is “not in the interests of the EU because it will increase dependence on Russian energy resources”.
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“And we should be more independent from Russian gas. As head of the European Commission, I [would] use all the procedures to block Nord Stream 2,” he pointed out.
Weber said that he is alarmed by the fact that his views run counter to those of Berlin, which supports Nord Stream 2, adding that he is a candidate for European Commission's top spot from the European People's Party rather than Germany.
“Europe includes 28 states. Thinking about Europe, we should consider independence from Russian gas. We are discussing this difficult issue with politicians and leaders from France, Germany and other European countries,” he concluded.
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The remarks come after Weber vowed in an interview with Newsweek in mid-March that if he becomes the head of the European Commission, he would once again study the “tools” that could be used to prevent the construction of Nord Stream 2.
He claimed that he “flatly rejects” the pipeline’s construction because Nord Stream 2 is a “purely political” rather than “economic” project.
The remarks come a few weeks after US Senator Ron Johnson said that a preliminary resolution calling for the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project due to its alleged threats to European security had advanced in Congress.
Earlier, Wintershall chief executive Mario Mehren said that the resolution on halting Nord Stream 2 recently adopted by the European Parliament does not mean anything for the further implementation of the project.
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Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Russia's Gazprom, Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, France's Engie, Austria's OMV and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell. The project envisions the construction of a second gas pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea connecting north-western Russia and north-eastern Germany.
When completed later this year, the pipeline is expected to deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas annually to the European Union.