By Mykhailo Gonchar, President of the Centre for Global studies “Strategy XXI”, for European pravda
Danger cannot be overcome without danger (Numquam periculum sine periculo non potest vincere). This old Latin veracity is worth recalling because of the need in creating a mechanism to counter the Nord Stream 2 project.
Such counteractions are possible even after the joint US-German statement of July 21.
In particular, given the fact that Biden-Merkel deal in Putin's favour provoked a flurry of negative reactions in the United States and Europe, which were obviously not expected on the banks of the Potomac and the Spree.
The above preserves opportunities for opponents of the Russian gas pipeline to continue countering the project even if it is completed.
The following directions to neutralize it and the negative consequences of the deal for Europe can be identified.
1. The Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian cooperation in countering Putin's flows should be aimed at working with the US Congress in order not only to restore the status quo of sanctions on Nord Stream 2, but also to expand them.
The three countries also could advise the US authorities in investigating the activities of third-party organizations, which seek to harm US national interests and their relations with strategic partners in Europe.
2. Ukraine should initiate consultations with the European Commission in accordance with Article 274 of the Association Agreement between the European Union and its Member States of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part and Annex XXVI thereof, given preconditions for a crisis situation in the case, if Russia would complete Nord Stream 2 as the final part of a pipeline system in the Baltic and Black seas bypassing Ukraine and Poland. If created, it would establish a perfect system of monopoly gas supply to the EU from the east and Gazprom's anti-competitive behaviour.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine finally took into consideration the Article 274, and although a lot of time was already lost, it would be better late than never.
3. The National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine should impose sanctions on Nord Stream AG and Nord Stream 2 AG operators as entities whose activities are aimed at harming Ukraine.
The relevant initiative of the group of civic organizations was sent to the National Security and Defence Council on July 7.
4. An antitrust investigation against both - the streams operators Nord Stream AG, Nord Stream 2 AG and Gazprom should be initiated.
Reasons for the investigation are obvious – in the case of the Nord Stream 2 commissioning, as well as the second line of TurkStream (the so-called "Balkan Stream"), Gazprom gets a perfect monopoly on gas exports to the EU from the east, operating all gas pipelines, except for the gas transmission system of Ukraine, and violating the anti-competitive legislation of the European Union on the territory of the EU to the detriment of a competitor – the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine.
5. An investigation of activities of Gazprom's subsidiaries registered in Switzerland, in particular the operators Nord Stream AG and Nord Stream 2 AG, for compliance with EU law should be initiated in the EU institutions.
This is important because no financial reports are being published, part of the revenues can be used without any limitations for subversive activities in Germany and other EU and NATO member states.
6. NATO should launch a security audit of the Baltic underwater pipeline corridor and equipment installed in its area.
In fact, the certification of Nord Stream gas pipelines is incomplete.
It lacks its security component in the form of verification, whether it is possible to use those offshore gas pipelines for purposes other than for a commercial (placement of dual-purpose hydroacoustic equipment to control the underwater space), not related to ensuring gas transportation and maintaining its functional technical condition.
7. Parliaments of several Central and Eastern European countries should step up with a proposal to the European Parliament and the US Congress on a joint strategic initiative to ban further development of coal, oil and gas fields in the Arctic – in high latitudes, above the Arctic Circle, where all Gazprom fields fall (Yamal Group), which feed Putin's flows and are intensively developed by Russia while ignoring environmental requirements.
The extraction of hydrocarbon resources, which are then sent to the EU market, is accompanied in the Arctic by increased emissions not only of CO2 but also of more dangerous greenhouse – natural gas.
Therefore, this gas does not contribute to the EU's climate neutrality, but, on the contrary, makes more difficult to achieve it. Therefore, the operation of the Yamal-Nord Stream pipeline systems in Europe should be limited to at least 50% of their capacities, and imports of gas from Arctic fields should be subject to a border adjustment carbon tax.
8. Ukraine should pay a special attention to Kharkiv region. The region produces up to 45% of national gas. It borders Russia and is located near the front line.
In Kharkiv and Kharkiv region in 2014, Russia tried to create a "people's republic." It will try to do it again now to reduce Ukraine's energy resilience, just as it did with the Donbas anthracite, having brought it under the control of Russian “puppets”.
Therefore, a set of measures is needed to protect both critical energy infrastructure in the region as well as to strengthen the counterintelligence regime and anti-sabotage activities.
This is a non-exhaustive list of what can be done.
But the main thing is not to give in to the aggressor, its henchmen and various "schröders" here in Europe and overseas.
As we can see, the Schröder virus, like the Delta strain, has already reached the other side of the Atlantic thanks to Merkel.