US trying to block Nord Stream 2 with sanctions

The US has initiated sanctions against the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Companies whose vessels are installing the last few kilometres of the Baltic Sea pipeline face sanctions such as bans on entering the US for their managers and the blocking of financial transactions. Is this just a cheap attempt to eliminate the competition on the gas market?

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Der Standard (AT) /

An obvious tactic

The US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 are driven by purely economic motives, Der Standard comments:

“In fact Europe's dependence on Russian gas is already huge and can hardly rise any further. The new, almost completed pipeline would transport gas which up to now has reached Europe via Ukraine and Poland. This would eliminate one risk, namely that living rooms growing cold because Kiev and Moscow are once again at loggerheads. Donald Trump himself has admitted that the US is less concerned about freeing Europe from its dependence on Russia than about its own economic interests. ... There's just one catch: liquefied natural gas made in the US is significantly more expensive than pipeline gas from Russia. It would be a bad deal not only for Europe's households, but also for its industry.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Merkel government deservedly paying the price

Germany's indignation is unwarranted, Die Welt comments:

“For years Berlin has been playing with marked cards on this issue, acting as if it were merely a private business venture and not one with security policy implications. The Germans have stubbornly ignored their partners' well-founded objections and the fact that the construction of Nord Stream 2 flies in the face of Western geostrategic interests, whose matrix has changed radically since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We like to portray ourselves as exemplary Europeans who always strive to consider our partners' interests. But on Nord Stream 2, Germany has behaved like an irresponsible first-person shooter. And the Merkel government is now paying the price.”