France endorsed German request to proceed with Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction
French President Emmanuel Macron dismissed the presence of a Franco-German crisis on Friday, consenting to the German request to pursue the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The French Foreign Ministry had initially supported the idea of toughening the mandate of the E.U. Third Energy Package Gas Directive. The E.U. Directive was planned to impose additional environmental and safety regulations in offshore pipelines – a move posing additional hurdles to materialisation of the Nord Stream 2 project.
The French stance appeared to side with critics of the project. Three major parties object to the future development of a new Russo-German pipeline. Eastern European countries, the U.S., and environmental authorities. The major claim of these parties is that Germany locks Europe down to a long-term dependency to Russian natural gas exports. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed Nord Stream 2 to be a purely economic project which would drive energy prices downwards in Europe. The German Chancellor rebuked criticisms on the grounds that Russian gas would contribute to the progressive phasing out of nuclear and coal-based energy plants from Europe.
The Nord Stream 2 project led to a diplomatic spat during the July 2018 NATO summit in Brussels between the German Chancellor and U.S. President Donald Trump. The U.S. President criticised the German counterpart for endorsing Europe’s succumb to Russian foreign policy interests, by pursuing the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Several critics of the pipeline project accuse Russia of utilising natural gas trade as a diplomatic weapon to achieve foreign policy objectives, especially in the European space.