Scholz remains silent on Nord Stream 2

In the press conference on Chancellor Scholz's visit to Washington on Monday, US President Biden threatened Russia saying that "there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2" in the event of a Ukraine invasion. The German head of government, on the other hand, did not address the pipeline directly. Berlin should talk turkey, commentators believe.

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Denik N (CZ) /

A refusal to take the leading role

Scholz had to bite his tongue because the German economy is so dependent on Russian gas, Denik N puts in:

“Scholz and his government are trapped. ... A policy of impartiality may solve the energy crisis in the short term but in the long term Germany will be vulnerable to diplomatic seduction and blackmail. Scholz had the opportunity in this crisis to show that Europe has a strong new leader. Instead he stressed that Germany will not take on a leading role because that would run counter to its economic interests.”

Der Standard (AT) /

No obvious plan

The upcoming trip to Moscow offers a new chance to abandon the path of vagueness, Der Standard points out:

“It's a balancing act that has taken on grotesque features. But perhaps Scholz is also pursuing a plan so clever that others just can't understand it. And at some point he'll be hailed as the 'peace chancellor'. In the US, Scholz got away with it. Next week, when he visits Vladimir Putin in Moscow, things will be more tense.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Like a waiter listening to the chef

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is also irritated by the chancellor's prevaricating:

“Moscow should not be able to work out how high the price is. The Chancellor calls this 'strategic ambiguity' - a bold way of putting it at a time when Germany is being accused of fatal ambiguity in its Russia policy. Biden didn't take this line but opted to send an unambiguous message to Moscow (and Berlin) instead: if Russia invades Ukraine, Washington will 'bring an end to' the pipeline. Scholz also remained silent on this, like a waiter listening to the chef.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Those who are truly strong don't boast about it

The Biden-Scholz team could prove to be a godsend in the current crisis, writes Der Tagesspiegel:

“They are clear and unambiguous on the issues at hand, but calm and unideological in their tone. They are trying not to give the other side any pretexts for further destabilising the situation. This may leave the hotheads and agitators unsatisfied, but they - and Putin - forget: true strength doesn't need to be constantly flaunted. Those who possess it don't need to boast about it.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Washington has no real plan

Political scientist Lucio Caracciolo criticises the lack of a clear strategy on the part of the US. He writes in La Stampa:

“It's very hard to find any coherence in Washington's actions and counteractions. This is not a case of astute tactical unpredictability, but rather of grave strategic uncertainty. In short, there is no plan, or if there is, it's not working. The propagandist emphasis on a potential Russian invasion that so worries Ukrainians, who are facing massive capital flight, can't fill the void here.”

Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

Scholz needs to get louder

The Salzburger Nachrichten calls for a hard stance vis-à-vis Russia in a commentary written before the meeting with Biden:

“The crisis in Ukraine requires clear words - and the Olympic Games in Beijing would also have been an opportunity for this. The chancellor must take a stand. ... It's also clear that he needs to sort out his party's Russia problem. Only recently he had to put former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder - now a lobbyist for Russia - in his place and make it clear that he, Scholz, is now chancellor.”