Polish President slams Nord Stream 2 in Berlin visit

Polish president expressed strong opposition to the construction of the planned Russo-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and the German president urged Poland to respect the European Union’s court ruling on judicial overhaul.

Poland backs Washington in US-German dispute over Nord Stream 2

see more

“We definitely think that the investment, which is the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, should not take place,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday.

“We believe that the investment will disrupt future energy relations in Europe,” President Duda said during a joint news conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.

Poland, along with the US, has consistently criticised Germany for the new pipeline which will double Russia’s export capacity of 55 billion cubic metres to Germany.

Eastern European and Baltic states fear it will increase Europe’s reliance on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s lucrative gas transit route. The US also opposes it, contending that it could undermine Europe’s energy security.

Legal matters

In return, Mr Steinmeier urged Poland to respect the order of the European Union’s top court to suspend an overhaul of the country’s Supreme Court.

“I hope that the Polish government will find a suitable way that respects European jurisprudence,” said Mr Steinmeier.

The European Court of Justice (CJEU), the highest court of the European Union, issued an injunction on Friday against the implementation of Poland’s new law on the Supreme Court, freezing any changes to the existing system.

President Duda criticised the timing of the ruling ahead of Sunday’s local elections in Poland.

New sources of gas

To reduce its reliance on Russia, Poland has taken several steps to diversify its fuel source.

Poland opened its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Baltic Sea and also aims to connect Poland to Norwegian gas deposits via Denmark by October 2022, in a project known as the Baltic Pipe.

The Baltic Pipe will cross the existing Nord Stream pipe, which brings gas to Germany from Russia, and possibly its planned second line, Nord Stream 2.

President Duda called Nord Stream 2 a “political and strategic” project and not a commercial one.

In June, Poland’s state-run gas firm PGNiG signed long-term agreements with US Port Arthur LNG and Venture Global LNG for liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries, in another attempt to reduce its reliance on Russian supplies.

When the question of Germany buying US LNG was raised, Mr Steinmeier said “whether American LNG will be purchased or not, it is a non-political decision, only an economic and commercial decision”.