The future of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline is likely linked to any possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia, according to the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Josep Borrell was speaking during a meeting of the bloc’s foreign affairs and defense ministers in Brest where German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht warned against linking the natural gas pipeline and the row with Moscow over Ukraine.
But the EU High Representative distanced himself from this position.
“This is not an infrastructure that we consider a priority because it was not contributing to the energy autonomy of Europe,” Borrell said. “And certainly the functioning of this infrastructure will also depend on the development of the events in Ukraine and the attitude of Russia.
“You cannot imagine that we are thinking on one side of imposing sanctions and on the other hand to open the infrastructure. It is certainly linked to the military situation in Ukraine. It’s obvious.”
Borrell added that if there is finally a de-escalation of tensions with Moscow, then the decision to finally open the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany would be in the hands of German and European regulators.
The comments from the EU’s foreign affairs tsar come amidst a week of heavy diplomacy as US and NATO officials meet with their Russian counterparts to discuss security on the European continent as tens of thousands of Russian troops remain near the Ukrainian border.