Nord Stream 2: FDP lawmaker slammed for suggestion to open pipeline
Wolfgang Kubicki of the FDP faced criticism from his own party and the government after proposing the opening of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia. He said there was “no sensible reason” to keep the pipeline closed.
Nord Stream 2 was designed to pump gas from Russia to Germany but never went into operation
Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy chairman of Germany’s Free Democrats (FDP), faced severe criticism on Friday after suggesting that Germany should allow gas to flow through the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
The neoliberal Free Democrats are part of Germany’s governing coalition alongside Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens. Kubicki is a member of the Bundestag for the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline runs from Russia to northern Germany. The project, which was completed in late 2021, was suspended before it entered service as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kubicki: ‘No sensible reason’ not to reopen pipeline
“We should hasten to open Nord Stream 2 to fill up our gas reserves for the winter,” Kubicki said in an interview for the RND media group, arguing that there was “no sensible reason” not to do so.
“If the gas storage units are full, we can close Nord Stream 2 again — and the other pipelines as well, when we become independent of Russian gas,” he argued.
“But we aren’t there yet,” Kubicki added.
Criticism from within party ranks
A spokeswoman for FDP leader and German Finance Minister Christian Lindner called Kubicki’s suggestion “wrong and absurd.”
FDP parliamentary leader Christian Dürr told the dpa news agency, “We are conducting intense discussions on how to avoid a looming energy crisis this winter.”
“As a party, we have made a number of proposals on this matter. Opening Nord Stream 2 is not one of them,” he stressed.
Dürr also insisted that the reopening of the pipeline would send “the wrong signal to our European partners.”
Dürr called for Germany’s three remaining nuclear plants, which are due to shut down at the end of the year as a part of Berlin’s long-awaited nuclear phase-out, to continue operating as a way to reduce pressure on the energy market.
- Franziska Brandmann, leader of the FDP’s Young Liberals youth wing, said Kubicki’s comments showed the “same naivety towards Russia that got us into this precarious situation of energy dependence.”
Deputy government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner said the pipeline project was suspended for “good reasons,” stressing that a “resumption of the project is not up for debate.” He argued that the capacity of other pipelines available was enough to fulfill Russian delivery obligations.
Omid Nouripour, a co-leader of the Greens, told dpa that Kubicki’s proposal would be ineffective as Russia was already cutting the volume of gas delivered via the operational Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
“It is completely irrelevant how many empty pipelines you open,” he said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba slammed Kubicki’s proposal as “totally irrational” on Twitter, adding that such a move would bring about “devastating consequences.”
SPD foreign policy spokesman Nils Schmid told the t-online.de website that Kubicki had “taken on … Russian propaganda” and accused him of “making himself Putin’s henchman.”
sdi/sms (dpa, AFP)