Transatlantic pipe poker

Transatlantic pipe poker

Photo: Harald Hoyer, CC-BY-SA-2.0 / Graphic: TP

The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project exposes the geopolitical fault lines in the Western federal system

The whining of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) was rough. Germany, with its stubborn adherence to the expansion of the Nord Stream pipeline in Europe "isolated", the "aubenpolitical damage" After the public criticism from Paris, the risk for the Federal Republic of Germany is immense, even without taking into account the disagreement with the USA. In addition, the EU Commission and Eastern Europeans, who are opposed by Berlin, also rejected genetic engineering "often remarkably condescending tone" anschlag, the pipeline construction ab.

What had happened? Paris repeated its threat, first made public in February 2019, to oppose the German-Russian pipeline expansion, earlier this month. In view of the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and the state’s repression of the Russian opposition movement, a government official in charge of European affairs said in Paris that the construction work should be stopped.

Paris thus seemed to openly oppose Berlin on one of the most important transatlantic ies, destroying the illusion of a united European front on this ie. Nord Stream 2 suddenly became a German project, the Franco-German engine that was supposed to drive the EU had suddenly broken down in an essential energy policy project.

Shortly after taking office, the Biden administration made it clear that Washington continues to believe that Nord Stream 2 is – literally – a "lovefest" – "bad deal" for Europe. The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that it will soon present a comprehensive report on the pipeline in order to readjust sanctions, which should increase prere on the companies involved.

"trouble on the horizon" of transatlantic relations

In fact, Washington’s new administration, breaking with the isolationism of the right-wing populist Trump, was allowed to put prere on Berlin in particular. Washington wants to strengthen its role as a leader in the Western federal system "in humility" the journal Foreign Policy quoted Antony Blinken, the incoming U.S. secretary of defense. According to Foreign Policy it is above all Merkel, who is calling for a European-American "Love fest", in which the USA again took the lead, sabotage the development of the Internet in China.

According to the report "arger on the horizon" of the transatlantic relationship – and this "arger comes from Germany". What is meant by this? In this context, Spiegel-Online asks whether Washington is still needed at all, since the world would be a better place without the USA "arranges" have.

Foreign Policy cites three key areas of conflict between Berlin and Washington: the investment agreement between the EU and China, the election of Russia-friendly Armin Laschet – who is seen as a "Governor of the Rust Belt State of North Rhine-Westphalia" is dubbed – the head of the CDU, as well as Berlin’s adherence to Nord Stream 2.

Germany’s political elites became loud Foreign Policy pretend Berlin "Europe and the United States, on the one hand, and Russia and China, on the other, as aquivalent" could treat. But this strategy of Berlin undermines "European unity and the transatlantic connection", which led to the "Alienating partners and allies" the Federal Republic of Germany.

In plain language, the Biden administration is reclaiming the U.S.’s claim to leadership in the Western federal system, which isolationist Trump abandoned. Otherwise Washington threatens to split the EU. But Berlin’s hegemonic aspirations in Europe stand in the way of this. These power-political ambitions of Berlin made Merkel spatestes with their based "Beer tent speech" publicly when, shortly after Trump’s election, it effectively announced its intention to develop the EU into a geopolitical power factor in its own right.

Divide et Impera

There is no shortage of contradictions and power struggles in Europe that Washington could use to split the EU. In the eastern periphery of the EU, Nord Stream is vehemently rejected; in the south of the euro zone, memories of the Schaublerian austerity dictate during the euro crisis are still fresh. Central in this respect, however, is the Berlin-Paris axis, which functions as the EU’s most important power factor.

Berlin and Paris coordinate all important projects in the EU with each other, but at the same time they are engaged in a fierce competition for the leadership position in the Union, with the Federal Republic clearly dominating in economic terms due to years of export surpluses. In the course of the euro crisis, Berlin turned this growing economic superiority into a political claim to leadership in Europe, so that France is effectively the number two in the euro zone.

Paris hoped to compensate for the Federal Republic’s economic superiority with France’s military advantages in order to take on an equal leadership role alongside Berlin within an EU acting as an independent geopolitical power. For this reason, the Europeans have recently been pursuing ambitious military buildup plans, which are intended to ensure the strategic military independence of the EU in the medium term, with the Franco-German axis forming the core of this buildup strategy. Macron in particular pushed this pursuit of the "Defense autonomy" Europe’s.

But shortly after Biden’s election victory, the first cracks in the tense Franco-German alliance became apparent, as Reuters registered in late November 2020. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s remarks at the time, according to which a European defense autonomy would be "illusory" The fact that Biden’s victory in the elections was the first of many, and that the EU would remain dependent on the U.S. in the long term, caused a stir in Paris.

Macron made Kramp-Karrenbauer’s statement the subject of a cabinet meeting, speaking of "regrettable" auberungen spoke, which hopefully "isolated" opinion within the German government and that the. There is, he said, a "complete dissent" on this ie between him and the German defense minister, the French president emphasized.

Reuters noted in this regard that this episode had "deep-seated differences between the two most powerful nations of the European Union" illustrate. Those tensions have now been brought to the surface as the "Days paid by President Donald Trump" whose isolationist policies have prompted Macron’s political agenda.

France’s willingness to leave Germany alone on the transatlantic Nord Stream pipeline dispute now appears in a different light. Shortly before, Macron and Biden held their first conversation, agreeing to deepen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

With its about-face on the pipeline ie, Paris thus seems to want to publicly embarrass Berlin on the one hand, in retaliation for Kramp-Karrenbauer’s revisions. At the same time, France is sounding out the situation in order to obtain as far-reaching concessions as possible from Berlin or Washington.

The Nord Stream pipeline has thus become an object of negotiation, with Paris simply clarifying what concessions France can expect from both sides in the coming disputes, and then positioning itself accordingly. A stable European alliance that could counter the reanimated US claim to leadership would look different.

Status as a European energy project lost

Europe’s second-largest power is simply biding its time: France’s Auben Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian declared on 3. February, that Paris will not interfere in the energy policy of Berlin. Nord Stream 2 was "a matter for the Germans", Le Drian said he would not get involved in the "Germany’s energy decisions" interfere. But there will be "calm, loyal and honest discussions" The diplomat affirmed that he would discuss the ie with the relevant authorities in Berlin. Thus, the expansion of the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline has finally lost its status as a European energy project.

It is a German project – and Berlin will have to deal with Washington on this ie. Merkel is indeed facing a geopolitical setback, even if Paris is now modifying its clear rejection into a neutral stance in order to gain concessions on other contentious ies.

On 5. On February 2, the Chancellor arranged a special video conference with French President Macron, during which she once again discussed the ie of nuclear power, "for the time being" to hold on to the controversial pipeline project. The purpose of the consultations was to discuss the existing "differences" between Paris and Berlin, noted the U.S. news service Bloomberg. One had "very open" The French leader said the two sides had talked about the pipeline, and that they were trying to resolve, "working together on a sovereign European energy strategy" to work.

In Berlin, it is also hoped that the original 14. February were suspended for the time being by the new U.S. administration, declared Bloomberg with reference to insider information. Merkel declared loudly Bloomberg that the differences may be very open "not be so crude", that this "controversial project" but further in Europe "discussed" was.

From Washington’s perspective, however, it does indeed seem easy to use a simple divide-and-conquer strategy to regain the leadership role in the "German" Europe again aggressively to demand.

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