The German government offered the United States a billion-dollar deal in exchange for lifting sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project. Berlin has expressed readiness to invest up to 1 billion euros in the construction of two terminals for American liquefied natural gas, reported Die Zeit, citing sources. "In exchange, the United States will allow the smooth completion and operation of Nord Stream 2," said a letter from German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz sent on August 7 to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. In it, the German side also stated that "the existing legal possibilities for sanctions have not been exhausted".
According to the newspaper, Scholz first verbally expressed Berlin’s position, and then repeated it in writing. These new LNG terminals will be built at the ports of Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshaven. The German government promised to "increase government support for construction by allocating up to 1 billion euros" in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
At the EU summit on September 24-25, EU leaders are going to discuss the future of the Nord Stream 2 project in light of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. The leaders of the German Alliance 90/The Greens party demanded categorically that the project be halted. The liberal Free Democratic Party proposed to introduce a temporary moratorium on construction until all issues are clarified. The same was demanded by Merkel's possible successor, the candidate for the presidency of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Friedrich Merz.
The German government initially suggested not linking Navalny’s poisoning to the construction of the gas pipeline, but after military toxicologists reported that Navalny had been poisoned by the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, the tone changed. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany could "change its position" on the project. German cabinet spokesman Steffen Seibert said later that Chancellor Angela Merkel "supports the words" of the Foreign Minister.
On June 4, Republicans introduced a bill to the U.S. Senate to expand sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The authors of the initiative, Jeanne Shaheen and Ted Cruz, noted that the document "expands targeted sanctions on those involved in assisting with the construction of this pipeline. These sanctions will prevent Russia from bolstering its geopolitical weapon.".
The Nord Stream 2 project involves the construction of two pipelines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Construction of the pipeline, completed by 93%, was halted by U.S. sanctions. In December 2019, Swiss company Allseas withdrew its pipe laying ships after U.S. senators threatened to destroy its business.