Biden and Merkel hold disagreement about Russian pipeline

US President Joe Biden once again expressed his concern to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday about the near-completed Nord Stream 2 project, a pipeline that will deliver gas directly from Russia to Germany.

According to the US, the gas pipeline will increase European dependence on Russian gas. That would allow Russia to exert political pressure on vulnerable Eastern and Central European countries, including the US ally Ukraine.

Transit fees

Biden was pressurised by Republicans just before the meeting with Merkel in the White House to raise the issue. Republican senator Marco Rubio wrote a public letter to Biden, saying that the pipeline already has an economic impact on Ukraine. According to Rubio, Gazprom, the Russian energy company operating Nord Stream 2, would โ€œhave already begun to reduce the use of pipelines in Ukraine.โ€ As a result, Ukraine would miss valuable transit fees.

However, Biden and Merkel were otherwise unanimous in their attitude towards Russia. For example, Biden said at a joint press conference: โ€œAlthough I have repeated my concern about Nord Stream 2, Chancellor Merkel and I absolutely agree that Russia should not use energy as a weapon to force its neighbours will or threaten them.โ€

Good friends

Merkel said at the same press conference that Ukraine should continue a โ€œtransit country for energy even after Nord Stream 2 has been put into operation.โ€ Biden stressed that the difference of opinion between German and American allies does not interfere with relations: โ€œGood friends should be able to disagree with each other.โ€