Negotiations between the United States and Germany on a possible deal on the Nord Stream 2 project remain hanging in the air. The dialogue that started in the spring at the level of advisers reached the heads of states, but even then, the progress could not be achieved.
Angela Merkel's recent visit to Washington for talks with U.S. President Joe Biden did not bring a breakthrough, Reuters reported.
Merkel stated that there are disagreements on the essence and future of the project.
"We have different assessments as to what this project represents," she said. The United States and Germany, according to Merkel, agree that Ukraine should remain a transit country for Russian gas, but how exactly this can be achieved has not yet been decided.
According to Merkel, the possibility of imposing sanctions against Russia, if it decides to stop the gas transit through Ukraine, is being discussed.
“If Russia deprives Ukraine of the transit rights, then it risks facing active opposition. For this, there are various tools, not only from Germany, but also from Europe, for example, sanctions,” Deutsche Welle quotes Merkel.
"We will discuss [the reaction] with our European friends, but everything will be involved at a decisive moment, which I hope will not arrive," Merkel said.
"The Chancellor and I agree that Russia should not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to threaten its neighbors," Biden said.
He added that "practical measures" are being discussed, but there is no consensus. "Good friends may disagree," the U.S. president said.
According to Der Spiegel, Germany offered the United States alternative types of guarantees for Kyiv: monetary compensation, involvement in hydrogen projects, investments in gas infrastructure.
According to Nord Stream 2 AG, the laying of pipes along the bottom of the Baltic Sea is 98% complete, and in August both lines can be ready for commissioning.
However, the European regulation prohibits Gazprom from using 100% of the pipeline’s capacity. According to the EU Third Energy Package, the same company cannot be both a gas supplier and the owner of a gas pipeline.
Last year, Nord Stream 2 AG filed an application for an exception to these rules with the German Federal Network Agency, which regulates the gas market. But the application was rejected.
In July, the company filed a lawsuit in the court of Düsseldorf demanding this decision be overturned. The ruling is expected to be announced in August.