Despite imprisonment for Navalny: Altmaier defends Nord Stream 2

Despite the imprisonment for Navalny
Altmaier defends Nord Stream 2

Criticism of Nord Stream 2 has been around for a long time – after the conviction of Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny, it has increased significantly. Economics Minister Altmaier said the two should not be mixed up. An end to the pipeline project would hurt Germany in particular.

Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier is sticking to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline despite the prison sentence for Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny. The debate about the pipeline project should not be mixed up with the debate about human rights violations in Russia, Altmaier told "Bild am Sonntag". "One is business relationships and business projects that have existed for decades, the other is serious human rights violations and our reactions to them."

"If Nord Stream 2 were not completed, Russia would not automatically sell less gas because Nord Stream 1 and the Ukraine pipeline are still in operation," added the Minister for Economic Affairs. "But German companies would lose an enormous amount of investment. That is why I urgently recommend an objective discussion." Altmaier said at the same time that he could imagine a "clear response" from the EU to the condemnation of the Kremlin critic.

"The conviction of Alexej Navalny is an outrageous process that has nothing to do with the rule of law," said Altmaier. "I can imagine a clear answer to those who ordered and are responsible for this human rights violation. But that can only be a joint response from all EU member states."

The pipeline between Russia and Germany is almost finished. On Saturday evening, the operating company Nord Stream 2 AG announced that the laying work had continued. France and many other European countries are critical of the project. The US is fighting it with sanctions because they fear that Europe will be too dependent on Russian energy supplies. Despite the criticism of Russia in connection with the repression against Navalny and his supporters, the German government is sticking to the project.