The Trouble With Nord Stream 2

How the Pipeline Would Benefit Russia at the EU’s Expense

Building a pipe for Nord Stream in Sassnitz, Germany, May 2016. Tobias Schwarz / REUTERS

In 2005, the state-owned Russian energy company Gazprom and several European firms agreed to create Nord Stream AG, a consortium that would oversee the construction of the world’s longest undersea natural gas pipeline. German and Russian leaders noted that the pipeline, connecting the Russian city of Vyborg to Greifswald, would let Gazprom serve gas markets in northwestern Europe directly through Germany. With Germany as a major energy transit hub, the EU could then protect its gas supplies if conflicts between Russia and Ukraine were to disrupt the flows from the pipelines to the south.

Polish officials felt differently. Radek Sikorski, then foreign minister, compared the arrangement to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, the non-aggression deal between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union that led eventually to the joint invasion of Poland. Warsaw regarded Nord Stream, as the pipeline is known, as a geopolitical risk that would increase the influence

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