Despite their assurances of togetherness, President Joe Biden and Germany’s leader attempted to present a united front at the White House on Monday, one crucial sticking point looked to remain: the future of the Nord Stream 2 gas project. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz revealed a significant gap between himself and his American counterpart on the massive pipeline in a White House interview and an interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
Biden made it clear during a press conference following an Oval Office discussion that the project would be halted if Russia invaded Ukraine. According to top administration sources, it’s the position he and US officials have had for weeks, and it’s been a key point of negotiation with the incoming Scholz government. During the news conference, Scholz, however, refused to name the project and would to pledge to shutting down the pipeline if an invasion goes forward, a stance that caused issues for his foreign minister during a visit to Ukraine.
Scholz reiterated his commitment to the United States in an interview with CNN, however he did not elaborate on his plans for the Nord Stream project. “We’ll take all of the steps together,” Scholz told Tapper. Scholz’s predicament in challenging Russia for its aggressions in Europe is highlighted by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which transports Russian natural gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany while avoiding Ukraine.
Germany is significantly reliant on Russian energy, making it difficult to apply harsh sanctions without jeopardising oil and gas supplies during the winter months. The US has been frantically combing the globe for other energy supplies that could be redirected to Europe, from Asia to the Middle East, to American domestic suppliers.