EU Parliament calls for work on Nord Stream 2 to stop
The EU Parliament has called for construction work on the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to be halted following the arrest of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. The EU must put an "immediate stop" to the completion of the pipeline, a resolution adopted on Thursday states. Commentators also call for sanctions that have a more tangible impact.
Just modern-day sale of indulgences
As long as projects like Nord Stream 2 continue, other sanctions will not deter Russia, Lrt is convinced:
“Does it really make sense to sanction 30 Russian officials when at the same time construction on Nord Stream 2 is still forging ahead in Germany? What will new, symbolic sanctions change if European banks continue to sit on the billions of Putin's pals and European ports host their yachts? ... European sanctions against Putin's Russia and Lukashenka's Belarus have long since become the equivalent of sixteenth century Papal indulgences. ... Bits of paper that signify that future sins have been paid for. Less of a punishment than having to say three 'Hail Marys'.”
Berlin's refusal to scrap project shows its weakness
Germany is cutting a very poor figure in the row over the pipeline, comments the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
“It will be possible to talk more sensibly about this disagreement and possible compromises with the Biden administration than it was with Trump's people. But Nord Stream is hardly going to go down as a glorious chapter in German foreign and energy policy any more. Putin, on the other hand, will be rubbing his hands in glee because the project has been a source of maximum dissatisfaction in the EU and in the transatlantic alliance. Neither US sanctions nor Russian poison have convinced Berlin to give up the project so far. Some might see this as a sign of national sovereignty. But the Kremlin, unfortunately, is more likely to interpret such behaviour as a sign of dependency and lack of options.”