Olaf Scholz: the future German chancellor on Nord Stream 2 and gas transit through Ukraine

German politician Olaf Scholz, who is to be appointed Chancellor by December 8, has previously expressed support for Nord Stream 2 while defending the gas transit through Ukraine.

Kosatka.Media has put together Scholz's most iconic and controversial statements on Nord Stream 2.

Three-party agreement: not a word about Nord Stream 2

According to the agreement between the three parties that got the most votes in the elections to the Bundestag (Social Democratic Party of Germany, Alliance 90/Greens and Free Democratic Party ), the head of the SPD Olaf Scholz is to be appointed to the post of chancellor by December 8.

There is not a single word on Nord Stream 2 in the text of the agreement. The future government is going to increase the share of renewable energy sources in Germany, and also plans to focus on the construction of modern gas-fired power plants to provide the country with electricity.

“We are accelerating the expansion of renewable energy sources and the construction of modern gas-fired power plants to meet the growing demand for electricity and energy over the next few years at competitive prices. Gas-fired power plants, which are required to ensure the security of supply from renewable energy sources, must be constructed in such a way that they can be switched to climate-neutral gases (H2-ready). During the transition period, natural gas is indispensable,” the document reads.

Olaf Scholz on Nord Stream 2

During the government of Angela Merkel, Olaf Scholz served as the Minister of Finance and Vice-Chancellor of Germany since 2018. In this position, he made many contradictory statements about Nord Stream 2 and the future of gas transit through the Ukrainian GTS.

  • On September 23, 2020, in an interview with Augsburger Allgemeinen, Scholz said that the gas pipeline was a private energy project, and some critics of the project also received gas from Russia and not less than Germany.

That was the answer to the question of whether Germany should suspend the construction of Nord Stream 2 in response to the poisoning of the Russian opposition politician Oleksii Navalnyi.

“This is a private energy project in which a lot of companies are involved. ... And other countries that criticize us now receive gas from Russia and not in fewer volumes than Germany,” the DW politician quotes his words.  

The Vice-Chancellor then also added that Germany did not depend on gas supplies through the pipeline under construction. “Our supplies are very diversified,” Scholz said.

  • On February 10, 2021, Deutsche Welle reported that Scholz, on behalf of the German government, offered the US a "bribe" in the form of investments in exchange for the US to waive sanctions against the Russian gas pipeline.

“The German environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) published a letter from Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which he sent in August 2020 to the administration of President Donald Trump. Scholz suggested investing a billion budget euros in the construction of a terminal in Germany for receiving American liquefied natural gas (LNG) in exchange for the US to waive sanctions against Nord Stream 2,” the DW reported.

The existence of such a letter was confirmed on February 10 by the executive secretary of the SPD faction Carsten Schneider. He also said that the proposal of Vice-Chancellor Scholz was not his initiative, as everyone thought, but was approved by the relevant ministries and departments. The deal was cancelled due to the US refusal.

  • On May 20, Olaf Scholz as the SPD candidate announced he supported Nord Stream 2.

“Yes, and the current government of Germany, too,” Scholz said live on the WDR TV channel, speaking of support for the gas pipeline project, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

He also said: "There is a misconception in the US that we could become dependent on Russian gas, but if you mean the gas mix with Germany, this is wrong, and it was an important task for the FRG government to correct this misconception."

  • On June 26, Scholz and other candidates for chancellor said that they were ready to abandon the launch of Nord Stream 2 if it would become a tool to put pressure on Ukraine.

“The negative impact on gas transit and the security of Ukraine will have implications for possible supplies through the already completed gas pipeline,” Scholz said.

  • On September 27, Scholz said that Ukraine should remain a transit country after Nord Stream 2 is launched.

“As for the pipeline, the construction of which has been completed, it is essential that everyone takes into account the guarantees related to its operation. The guarantees include the fact that Ukraine should remain a transit country,” the German edition of Stern quotes Scholz.

He added that Germany had worked hard to ensure that such guarantees were given and could be relied on.

  • On October 27, Scholz said that Germany would need gas for a very long time.

“We will continue to use gas for a long time to come and will also build new gas-fired power plants as they are a prerequisite for us to be able to handle this period of change at all,” Scholz said at the Mining, Chemical and Energy Trade Union (IGBCE) Congress in Hanover.

  • On October 30, Olaf Scholz spoke with US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Scholz's position in this conversation about Nod Steam 2 was not voiced, however, the conversation was about guarantees for Ukraine.

“President Biden stressed the importance of continuing to work on the implementation of the Joint Statement by the United States and Germany on support for Ukraine and European energy security so that Russia cannot manipulate natural gas flows for harmful political purposes,” the White House website said at the time.

Tags: Nord Stream 2, pipeline, Germany

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