BERLIN (Reuters) – The co-leader of the German Green Party accused Russian “blackmail” of causing high energy prices across Europe, saying Moscow was trying to leverage Germany to allow to the Nord Stream 2 Baltic pipeline to begin operations.
The words of Annalena Baerbock, seen as a likely foreign minister in the next government, hinted at a key flaw in the talks due to start Thursday between her party, Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats and the Free Liberal Democrats on the formation of the next German government.
“We can see a game of poker by Russia,” she told the Funke news group in an interview published Wednesday. While high demand and tight supply also play a role, “we hear that gas deliveries are cut … We must not be blackmailed.”
Baerbock said it was important to apply European Union rules that pipeline operators should not be the producers of the gas they transport. Gazprom both owns the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and produces the gas it would transport. Unless that changes, the pipeline will need an exemption to start operating.
“This could be used by Russia to force an early authorization of Nord Stream 2, even if all the legal boxes have not been checked,” she added.
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Scholz’s Social Democrats, who would be the largest party if the three-traffic light coalition were formed, have long backed the pipeline despite criticism that it increases Europe’s dependence on the pipeline. Russian energy and makes transit states like Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian interference.
Baerbock added that she believed it was likely the Greens would be successful in persuading other parties to agree to advance a full exit from coal production to 2030 from 2038.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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