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Denmark Issues Nord Stream 2 Construction Permit, But Is It A Trap?

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Denmark Issues Nord Stream 2 Construction Permit, But Is It A Trap?

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On October 1st, Denmark issued a work permit for the completion of Nord Stream 2.

The pipeline manager Nord Stream 2 reported that the permit received includes a set of conditions for the operation of the pipeline section, which runs through the exclusive economic zone of Denmark.

This is good news for Russia, but could also spell some precarious times ahead.

The Danish oversight agency indicated that in issuing the permit, the request of the operator “Nord Stream-2” dated November 18 last year was satisfied. And they noted that the issuance of a permit is associated with numerous conditions that must guarantee the safe operation of the pipeline.

For example, the Danish authorities insist that the gas pipeline can be put into operation only if at least one of the lines is checked and all the conditions for commissioning correspond to the initial ones.

Nord Stream 2 itself confirmed that it had received a permit to operate a section of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline passing through the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone. They recalled that the building permit was issued by the Danish Energy Agency in October 2019.

The company also clarified that the permit does indeed define a series of conditions that must be met before the gas pipeline is launched and that it must be observed throughout the entire operation period of the facility. In other countries, such as Sweden and Finland, building permits already include operating permits.

“We continue to consider various options for resuming the laying of the gas pipeline in Denmark and will inform about our plans in a timely manner,” Nord Stream 2 reported.

Initially, The construction of Nord Stream 2 was suspended after the Swiss Allseas was forced to abandon pipe-laying due to possible sanctions from the United States. As a result, Russian pipelayers were sent to European shores.

Discussions about the fate of the project resumed in the fall after the German government reported that Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny had allegedly been poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group.

In response, the Russian Green party proposed to curtail construction, which called the incident an obvious assassination attempt by the structures of the Kremlin.

nce again, a longtime critic of the project, Donald Trump, spoke in favor of abandoning Nord Stream 2.

The United States is working to build a coalition against the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in an interview with German Bild in mid-September.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly stated that the gas pipeline project is commercial, not political.

At first, she refused to link the discussion of Nord Stream 2 with the poisoning of Navalny. However, later, the German state news agency, citing several participants in the meeting of the ruling CDU/CSU bloc in the Bundestag, reported that Merkel intends to transfer the decision on the fate of the gas pipeline to the European level.

Now, the situation is this, and several lines can be drawn from what transpired regarding the Nord Stream 2 in the past few days:

  1. The European Union’s institutions appear to be deteriorating in their influence. As such, Denmark simply decided that it would approve the construction of Nord Stream 2, and wouldn’t coordinate it (at least not publicly) with its EU big brothers in the face of France, Germany, maybe even the Netherlands.

This, however is true in another direction, Germany, instead of voting on what should happen with Nord Stream 2 is likely to put it up to vote in the EU, however, it is sure that the current European Parliament is, more or less, in a deadlock of those who show Russia disfavor and those who simply are rather neutral towards it.

As such, a vote that’s not certain in either direction would mean that it is free to say that it’s not really connected to Alexei Navalny’s alleged poisoning and it can move forward with the vital economic project.

  1. Despite anything that’s going on in the political sphere and calls and hysteria against “Russian aggression”, it is no secret that there’s an economic crisis that’s just gaining speed, as such the industrial elites in Europe are fully aware of the impending storm, and the urgent need to actually finalize a project that would reduce the tectonic shifts that this crisis promises. Energy security is a key pillar of stability, and cheaper energy, which will also certainly come, since whatever Russia is, it has repeatedly proven to be a safe and sure partner when it comes to large national-level projects.
  2. Finally, however, it could be that Denmark has coordinated its actions with its big brothers, and mostly with the US, which despite President Donald Trump’s awkward diplomacy still has quite a bit of push and pull in Europe. And as such a permit to construct, but operate Nord Stream 2 after a string of conditions could be a trap for Russia. The project is extremely expensive, and the finalization means that, at least, some financing is outside of the project. If it is finalized it is locked into it, and if it can’t be used it is a massive loss. As such this would provide certain leverage which can be used to pressure Russia in concessions in a vareity of diplomatic and economic fields.

Currently, Russia is under threat of sanctions from Germany, France and the US due to the alleged poisoning of Navalny and its presumed activities in supporting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, so further actions in finalizing Nord Stream 2 need to carefully be thought to, lest they prove fatal.

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