BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki acknowledged on Friday the two countries’ disagreement over an offshore gas pipeline currently being developed that would transport Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea.
Merkel and Morawiecki – who was visiting Berlin to discuss the European Union’s future, ongoing energy projects, refugee and border issues and closer bilateral ties – used a joint press conference to express their differences over the 1,200-kilometer (746-mile) long Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline, designed to double the capacity of the current Nord Stream 1 that supplies Germany with Russian natural gas and bring the volume up to 110 billion cubic meters (4 trillion cubic feet) per year.
Merkel said that Germany had different views to those of Poland on the Nord Stream issue, explaining that her administration viewed it as “an economic project.”
“We are also for energy diversification,” she added, assuring that the project posed no danger towards that end.
Morawiecki, on the other hand, expressed his concern that once Nord Stream 2 was operational, Ukraine would stop being a transit country in the gas supply route to Europe, adding that the Baltic pipeline was nothing more than another means of transporting gas from the same source, thus leaving Ukraine out of the gas route.
Merkel countered that her government also wanted Ukraine to continue to have transit gas traffic.
The old Ukrainian gas pipeline also crosses Poland, which, as a transit country, receives transit-rights fees from Russia.
Ukraine halted its gas purchases from Russia in November 2015, opting instead to buy “reverse” gas supplies from European countries, mainly Slovakia.
Poland also plans to build its own Baltic pipeline connecting it with Norway’s gas network.
One of Poland’s fears is that, once the Nord Stream pipeline is running, Russia may continue supplying gas to Germany but cut its supply to Eastern European nations.