Merkel Plans to Meet with Future Ukrainian President Zelenskyi to Discuss Gas Transit
Merkel is trying to bolster support for nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Photo from Ukrinform – UATV
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she will meet with soon-to-be-inaugurated-as-president Volodymyr Zelenskyi to discuss the gas transit issue across Ukraine. Gas transit is a sticking point with the ongoing construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which will carry natural gas directly to Germany, bypassing Ukraine and other possible land transit routes.
At the same time, Merkel expressed confidence that the European Commission could no longer stop the gas pipeline, DW reports.
“The project is almost completely approved,” she said.
Merkel acknowledged that the new EU gas directive gave the European Commission an opportunity to challenge the project, but would not prevent it.
According to Merkel, “a key point” in construction of any new gas pipeline is the role of Ukraine.
“Ukraine should remain a transit country, despite Nord Stream,” she said.
Merkel noted that the Nord Stream pipeline “is acceptable.”
On May 13, 2019, several US Senators have said they are drafting a bill on the imposition of sanctions on companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2.
Ukraine opposes the construction of Nord Stream 2 because of possible loss of transit country status and revenue. In addition, North Stream 2 opponents are the United States, Poland and the Baltic States, who warn that the EU will become dependent on Russian gas. However, Germany says this project is economic, not political.