Blinken talks to Maas in Brussels

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken keeps up pressure on Berlin about Nord Stream 2. 

Blinken spricht mit Maas in Brüssel
dpa

Brussels (dpa) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken used his first visit to Brussels in his new post to pressure Germany to scrap the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and threatened fresh sanctions on involved businesses.

New US President Joe Biden has been "very clear in saying that he believes the pipeline is a bad idea, bad for Europe, bad for the United States," Blinken said at a press conference on Tuesday before NATO foreign ministers' talks.

Blinken said he expected to speak to his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, about the project, which is nearing completion but has been hampered by US sanctions.

In a warning to businesses involved in the project, Blinken stressed again on Tuesday that a US law passed in 2019 requires sanctions on participating entities.

US officials argue that the pipeline, which is supposed to transport 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia to Germany each year, will make Europe too dependent on Russian energy supplies.

The pipeline would also bypass Ukraine, depriving Russia's neighbour and geopolitical competitor of the transit fees it receives for transporting Russian gas to the rest of Europe.

Supporters of the gas pipeline, on the other hand, have long accused the US of undermining the project in order to increase sales of their liquid gas in Europe.