European Parliament calls for halt on Nord Stream 2 construction after Navalny arrest

The European Parliament demanded that construction be halted on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in a decision handed on Thursday.

It issued the decision in response to Russia arresting opposition figure Alexei Navalny upon his return to Russia. He had been in Germany recovering from an attempted assassination with a military grade nerve agent.

Nord Stream 2 will transport pure fuel from Russia to Germany, and can double the capability of an current pipeline. The €10 billion (roughly $11 billion) Baltic Sea pipeline is about 90% completed, however has attracted appreciable criticism and divided the European Union.

“The European Parliament … calls on the EU and its member states to critically assessment cooperation with Russia in varied overseas coverage platforms and on tasks akin to Nord Stream 2, the completion of which the EU should cease instantly,” the mentioned.

Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the nonbinding decision, with 581 votes in favor, 50 in opposition to and 44 abstentions.

Call for sanctions

The decision additionally calls for sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inside circle in addition to the Russian officers behind the arrest of Navalny. It harassed that “Russian wealth of unclear origin shouldn’t be welcome within the EU.”

It calls for the instant launch of Navalny and his colleagues.

After the decision handed, Russian authorities arrested extra associates of Navalny, together with his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, who was seated subsequent to him on his virtually deadly flight from Tomsk.

“The police have began forcing open the door and are saying: come out, you are popping out on Saturday anyway and we will detain you,” Yarmysh wrote on Twitter earlier than she was detained at her Moscow dwelling, referring to deliberate protests this weekend.

Merkel defends challenge

German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned on Thursday that she wouldn’t abandon the challenge, regardless of it being the subject of bipartisan US sanctions. She mentioned she needs to debate the challenge with Joe Biden’s new administration and that the poisoning of Navalny had not modified her opinion of the challenge.

“I’m saying at this time that … my primary angle has not but modified in such a means that I’d say that the challenge should not occur,” Merkel instructed reporters.

“We will in fact converse with the brand new American administration,” she mentioned. “We should additionally speak about what financial relationships with Russia within the fuel sector are acceptable and what aren’t. And it is not as if there have been completely no commerce relations between the United States of America and Russia within the oil sector, for instance.”

“We should put every part on the desk, and speak about whether or not we wish to don’t have any commerce with Russia within the fuel sector in any respect, and what dependence is tolerable,” Merkel added. She underscored Germany’s objections to “extraterritorial sanctions.”

Environmental teams have additionally lodged complaints in opposition to the challenge, with Germany’s regulator saying on Thursday that it was nonetheless awaiting particulars of that problem.

Critics — most prominently Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states — say the challenge will improve Europe’s reliance on Russian power, which might be used as a political lever by Moscow. The pipeline will even additional sideline these international locations from the transit charges they acquire for fuel exported throughout their territory slightly than underneath the ocean. 

“It is in Europe’s curiosity that this pipeline is just not constructed,” mentioned Green Party European Parliament member Reinhard Bütikofer.

EU overseas affairs chief Josep Borrell mentioned that the bloc’s overseas ministers would focus on the difficulty at a gathering on Monday, however warned: “We can’t forestall corporations from constructing it if the German authorities is in favor of it.”

aw/msh (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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