US President Donald Trump’s criticism of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is not a reason to stop the project, stated European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger on December 28. He said that any attempts to prevent the construction will encounter serious opposition as the construction is already underway.
Trump criticized Berlin for supporting the $11 billion gas pipeline. In July, he accused Germany of being Moscow's “hostage” because of the largest European economy’s dependence on Russian gas. US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry stated last month that Washington reserves the right to impose sanctions against the companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2.
“I have never supported Nord Stream 2. However, the truth is that the gas pipeline has been under construction for a long time and that won’t be so easy to stop,” Oettinger stated in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine. He added that “Trump’s threats cannot become a reason for that.”
Ukraine still receives income from the transit of Russian gas through its territory, but Washington is concerned that the pipeline will allow Russia to bypass Ukraine in transporting large volumes of gas. The USA believes that Moscow is trying to divide Europe with the help of the gas pipeline project.
Income from transportation of gas makes up to 3% of Ukraine’s GDP. Oettinger insists that the Russian gas concern Gazprom, who is the leading the construction project, should commit to “continue using the existing gas pipeline through Ukraine.”
Gazprom’s European partners for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 are German companies Uniper and Wintershall, the British-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, French Engie and Austrian OMV.