Berlin lodges protest over US comments on Baltic pipeline

The German government has reportedly lodged an official protest with the US Embassy in Berlin over critical comments made by the US Ambassador to Sweden on a Baltic Sea pipeline meant to transport Russian gas.

Berlin lodges protest over US comments on Baltic pipeline
Photo: DPA

The business daily Handelsblatt reported in its Friday edition that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent a deputy to the US Embassy to express Berlin’s irritation over what it sees as American interference in the controversial energy project.

The US Ambassador to Sweden Michael Wood recently attacked the Nord Stream pipeline in an editorial published on The Local’s sister site in Sweden: “Nord Stream bypasses the Baltic States and Poland, potential consumers, and represents a special arrangement between Germany and Russia. The EU should be speaking with a single voice to counteract the power of Russia’s energy weapon.”

According to Handelsblatt, the Foreign Ministry made clear to the Americans that Wood’s comments urging Stockholm to put pressure on Berlin were considered a highly unusual interference in German business.

Pamela Preusche, a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Minstry, would not confirm that Berlin had lodged an official protest with the US Embassy. “I won’t comment about that,” she told The Local. “But I can say that we are in close contact with our American partners regarding a number of issues including energy topics.”

The Nordstream project, which was brokered by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder just before he left office, will run along the Baltic Sea floor within the Finnish and Swedish economic zones.