Why Did France Just Save Nord Stream 2?

From Forbes

Why Did France Just Save Nord Stream 2?

Dave Keating

Dave Keating Contributor
Energy

 

  • A ceremony marking the start of Nord Stream pipeline construction in 2010 (Dmitry Lovetsky, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday, things were looking bleak for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. After months of insisting it didn’t want to get involved in the pipeline dispute, a French foreign ministry spokeswoman suddenly announced the country will support a European Commission proposal to make construction more difficult.

Then, just as suddenly, France changed its mind today at a meeting of energy ministers in Brussels – saying it had reached a “compromise” with Germany.

The proposed pipeline, which would bring gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is being fiercely opposed by an unlikely coalition of environmentalists and right-wing governments in the United States and Eastern Europe. Their view, just about the only thing they agree on, is that the new pipeline will lock Europe into long-term dependence on Russian gas. This is problematic both for efforts to fight climate change and for European energy security.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is desperate to get the pipeline built because she needs to replace the nuclear and coal power she has committed to phase out in the coming years. But at a NATO summit in Brussels last July, US President Donald Trump fiercely criticised Merkel’s decision to approve the pipeline, saying it will make Germany “totally dependent” on Russia. The Trump administration would prefer Germany import liquified natural gas from America instead.

Stops and starts

After plenty of pressure from Washington, a critical mass of EU countries was able to block the EU’s mandate to approve the pipeline. In response, Germany and Russia said they didn’t need EU approval for the pipeline – only national approval from the four EU countries it’s passing through (Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany).

Acknowledging that the rules were unclear, the European Commission put forward a proposal that would indisputably make such pipelines coming to and from non-EU countries fall under EU jurisdiction for approval. Germany has been lobbying countries not to accept this proposal, because it could allow Brussels to kill the pipeline project, on which construction has already begun..

But the German and French ministers reached a compromise this morning which would keep the aspects of the proposal which increase EU oversight of such projects, but would not give the EU the ability to kill them.

According to EU sources, while the compromise might make construction of the pipeline more complicated, it will not prevent its construction.

Read the full story here.

 

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150 thoughts on “Why Did France Just Save Nord Stream 2?

    • from last week
      “Alstom ( France) regrets European Commission’s prohibition decision for the merger of its business with Siemens Mobility (Germany)”
      Both countries announced that they will look into EU regulations related to the matters of vital national economic interest.

    • It is the real Russian collusion.

      Don’t think Putin is not trying to prevent fracking and make EU a puppet totally energy dependent on Russian-based pipes. EU is stupid and bribed enough to do everything the wrong way.

    • That was my thinking too, Johann, at first reading. But consider that a pipeline locks in one source while LNG can be sourced from multiple countries at the same time.

      In the event that Germany has a spat with one of the countries supplying LNG, there would only be a hiccup in supply. In the event Germany has a spat with Russia; boom, boom, boom. Out go the lights.

      • A pipeline is dependent on each of the countries that it goes through. Anyone of them can shut down the pipeline, for any reason.
        Also, a pipeline is more vulnerable to terrorism.

        • There is far more likelihood of Ukraine’s monopoly on gas transit being a security risk than RF withholding supplies.

          Even during Skipal fiasco and Germany ejecting loads of diplomats, there was never a hitch in the gas flow. Both countries are heavily dependent on keeping it flowing.

          I suppose the eco-loons would rather Germany started extracting more of its vast coal reserves or bought low quality brown coal from Poland. They have a “fundamental” problem: concerning where they keep their brains.

        • Putin is trying to prevent EU fracking and run his pipeline to Germany.
          Saudi Arabia & Qatar are trying to overthrow Assad to run their pipeline to Europe through Syria.
          Russia and Iran are trying to block them and run their pipeline to Europe through Syria.
          Obama & Hillary play games that kill tens of thousands of Syrians and flood Europe with tens of thousands more.
          Meanwhile Turkey plays both sides against the middle.

          I like Trump’s idea.
          Pull the US out of the middle east conflicts and sell US natural gas to Europe.

      • Yep, that’s how I see it -hey Merkel-got Tanks?
        The natural otucome would be if there is a spat,
        guess who get called on to do a little Russian
        control-invoking NATO….
        Not…

      • The Germans are building the facilities to take LNG, mostly LNG from the USA. So they are hedging their bets.

    • And it’s not as if a supply pipeline precludes supply by LNG tankers. LNG can be tied into the main distribution system from the receiving port and act as a back-up to interruptions of the conventional supply or place a limit on cost increases. I can’t see LNG ever being as cheap as NG which hasn’t gone thru liquification though.
      And as for the comment that pipelines are vulnerable to terrorism, so are LNG facilities, and the latter would result in a huge local problem due to the large masses involved.

      • Good point, Greg S, ……. an LNG “input” port on the NG pipeline is a per se “wild card” that can be played whenever necessary.

    • No, such shocking collusion requires a ‘Special’ Investagator … I understand Bobby Mueller will have some time freed-up in the near future

  1. putting politics aside
    north, south, east, west
    gas is best
    I assume that it is is not too difficult to change a coal powered plant to gas powerd plant?

    • Depends on the design, but typically relatively inexpensive. Done on several coal-fired units on the utility I worked for. But you obviously need a nearby high-capacity gas-line.

  2. Just wait until Kiev claims Russian “green men” are using the pipeline to penetrate Europe, an end-run around Ukraine.
    Poroschenko, put in place by Obama/Nuland, can just watch as revenues from siphoning gas vaporize.

    • Poles have a reason to be nervous even if the Germans were not trying to surrender to Russia. Germany and Russia have a long history of cooperating to destroy Poland. This goes back to the time of the Tsars before the Nazis and the Soviets.

      If the Poles were wise, they would construct their armed forces on the Swiss/Israeli model.
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374519323/

      • The Poles are wise enough to keep coal – witness the last IPCC confab there. For anything else ask Tusk of the EU.

        By the way the Cold war ended in 1991. (seems some here slept thru it).

        • “the Cold war ended in 1991”:

          And Putin re-started it by invading Ukraine and seizing Crimea in 2014.

          • Yep. See vukcevic’s comment above. Obama, Biden, and Hillary were in bed with Burisma holdings. They provoked a conflict to depose the Ukraine president so they could cash in on the shale gas deposits in western Ukraine (using US fracking technology, no less). That’s how & why coke snorting Biden Jr. ended up on the board of directors of Burisma Holdings. And any military mind could have predicted Putin would retake eastern Ukraine as Russia’s only warm water naval port is on the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea.

          • Isn’t it fascinating how according to the trolls, nothing happens, anywhere in the world, unless America ordered it to happen.

          • They provoked the conflict to attempt a new cold war- very nearly getting it. When Trump said dump NATO this plan did a belly landing. Meanwhile Putin outflanked Obama and London with Crimea and Syria, and the new hypersonic weapons announcement.

            The most incredible russia bashing started then. Forgotten Skripal, Ghouta already? There was PM May speaking Russian at Westminster (1 word vocabulary only). Wonderland!

          • MarkW:
            Vukcevic’s and my comments are based on facts.
            Trolls make useless driveby comments that are unsupported by facts.

            Do you have any facts to support your driveby troll comment?

          • Louis, there’s a big difference between opinion and fact.
            Perhaps if you would learn that difference you wouldn’t be taken in by propaganda so frequently.

  3. Actually, and I’m not just being silly or flip here I think Mama Merkel just asked Macron to “be a good boy and help us out a bit here.” It would not surprise me to find that it is no more complicated than that.

    Ummm… that’s assuming the change in stance was solely due to a Macron decision. If ministers and directors and advisors and the mail room clerk were all involved, then I have no clue how they got to that decision.

    • Considering that France relies on a fleet of decrepit 1970’s nuclear reactors for much of it’s electricity, perhaps Macron is acting to stop the lights going out in France.

      It is much quicker and easier to build new gas powered electric generating stations than new nuclear – the only thing you need is a reliable source of gas.

  4. “they didn’t need EU approval for the pipeline – only national approval from the four EU countries it’s passing through”

    ….build the wall…..they just completely undermined their authority

  5. Probably after my expiration date, but Europe is shaping up to be the battlefield for a Russian-Arab proxy war. Both groups seem intent on the domination of that continent.

  6. Merkel is the Obama of Germany – she’s a socialist who hates her country and people. Every action she has taken supports that view. Not one action she has taken opposes that view.

  7. Further on in the article the reporter does mention what’s going on : Macron’s proposal to reform the EU with a banking and fiscal union which is extremely unpopular in Berlin.
    Whether Merkel will now try that again , being basically a lame duck, is questionable.

  8. “…US President Donald Trump fiercely criticised Merkel’s decision to approve the pipeline, saying it will make Germany “totally dependent” on Russia.”

    Well that is just part of Pres Trump’s covering up his secret collusion with Russia by the old switcheroo back to a reswitcheroo that was a feint to pretend he was against the pipeline.

    Can’t make sense of that? Well, believe the part where the USA is promoting its own exports by blocking pipelines in other countries. Thank goodness that sort of interference couldn’t happen in Canada…

  9. The German paymasters have Macron and France by the short hairs. Interesting but not at all surprising that Germany decided to ignore the EU if it went against their national interest. Puts paid to the idea that EU decisions are binding on those possessing the cash pile of last resort.

    The creditor debtor relationship is well understood. We’ll sell our fracked gas elsewhere. If Germany becomes the economic prop for Putin we may have a more serious long-term issue.

    • Only country government that obediently followed all the EU regulations was the UK, and look where that got them to, revolting of the population. Mind you, to top it up Germany and the UK (not France) have been the largest contributors to the creation of the obnoxious EU regulations.

      • The Pole Tusk talks of Hell for the Brexiteers. All masks are off at the Ball ! Reminds me of Polanski’s Dance of the Vampires!

        • They tried that one too, but on euro the government and the citizens (via 15% interest rate) burnt their fingers and learned the lesson after George Soros nearly broke Bank of England.
          “Black Wednesday occurred in the United Kingdom on 16 September 1992, when John Major’s Conservative government was forced to withdraw the pound sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) after it … With UK inflation at three times the rate of Germany’s, interest rates at 15%, it could be argued …” wikipedia

        • Maggie, Mitterand had already imposed the Euro on Kohl as a Berlin re-unification extortion.
          See Kohl’s book – his darkest hour was throwing away the most successfull currence in history, the DM. Maggie had no intention of the Euro for the UK – it’s for the Continentals!
          Bush look sideways when all this happened. And after all it was the British fascist Oswald Mosley who first proposed a U.S.E after Hitler failed. Churchill took up the idea pronto.

          Well that really looks like a ricochet – Brexit.

          I think that explains the dissaray, PM May?

  10. Cold, cold winters or compromise with Russia. The EU is making its choice, now the US will have to decide how trustworthy is NATO allies are during the next cold, cold winter.

  11. Well as Kermit the frog said, it aint easy being Green. Sooner or later, and more likely the former, you’re going to wind up between a rock and a hard place. Russian gas will no doubt have strings attached. But realistically, the pipeline makes a whole lot more sense than importing LNG from the US.

    • Well, no, bonbon, it does not answer it. They speculate that Germany may agree to a Eurozone common budget and debt arrangement in the coming days. Only time will tell if that is true.

      • Macron campaigned on exactly that theme, got a cold shower in Berlin. It is not speculation. His political survival now depends on a fiscal union – NordStream2, EU Army being jokers, not aces.
        Just let a party attempt Macron’s plan – their % are already falling like stones.

  12. Doing business with China was the big policy to bring them into the world and remove threats to peace. So why not use it with Russia. The “threat” is essentially propaganda because they aren’t going for the Eurocentric-UN- global elite totalitarian plan.

    The whole Russia collusion fiction in US is a script written by the DNC and even sceptics seem to have bought into it. Russia is the country surrounded by Western bases that is under threat. Like global warming as a pretext for something quite different, Ukraine and the situation there is quite different than people think ( or whatever the word should be).

    • The US sees Venezuela as their area of interest and have sent 5000 troops to their border. How much 9f a threat is Venezuela to the US?

      • “The US sees Venezuela as their area of interest and have sent 5000 troops to their border.”

        Are you sure about that? I know it was leaked that Bolton had a note on his notepad saying something like: “5,000 troops to Columbia”, but as far as I know, no action has been taken.

        The Monroe Doctrine

        https://www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/monroe-doctrine

        “On December 2, 1823, President James Monroe used his annual message to Congress for a bold assertion: ‘The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.’”.

      • Bolton said he is not there to follow his inclinations, but to work for Trump. Never mind the notebook scribble – fake news.

      • Gary, you are one of the few regular commenters who recognizes these facts. I am constantly amazed at the number of AGW skeptics who suspend their disbelief when it comes to the obvious misdirection of the MSM and the western security/financial/military/industrial complex. William Binney, architect of the NSA surveillance infrastructure and subsequently critic of mass data collection (contending that collecting EVERYTHING impedes the ability to hone in on the important stuff) stated that the DNC ‘hack’ was actually an inside job, that the download happened in two consecutive batches corresponding to the use of two 16 MB flash drives, at a download rate which was much faster than could be supported by the internet infrastructure in place at that time, ruling out online hacking. There are grounds for connecting the very suspicious death of Seth Rich with this data release. Rich was reportedly very unhappy about the DNC shafting of Bernie Sanders.
        Then we have the work of the State Department through the National Endowment for Democracy and other NGO’s which trained operatives and funded the ‘color revolutions’, the Ukrainian coup, the Arab Spring, etc etc, the transparently bogus feeding of Viagra to Libyan troops, the allegations of gassing of civilians by the Syrian government, and on and on in what can be characterized as Full Spectrum interference in the affairs of nations which don’t fully subscribe to the notion of a unipolar world.
        To those who can’t conceive that their ‘side’ has a very dark underbelly, I will borrow the dramatic words of Oliver Cromwell: ” I beg you, in the bowels of Christ, to consider that you may be mistaken.”

        • From which bowels Christopher Steel of Orbis and MI6 Russia Desk, pulled his filthy dossier, doused it off and passed it to the DNC, is not clear – Mueller is still digging for dirt.

          Britain meddled in 2 US campaigns – Trump’s and Bernie’s (the Brit-for-Bernie turns up now in Integrity Initiative). Plenty of locals, like Strzok, Comey et al, are up to theír ears in it.

          Bill Binney, architect of Thin Thread was constitutionally correct – the later program a blatant violation. Ask Snowden.

      • First off, there is no evidence to support your paranoia.
        Secondly, 5000 troops aren’t enough to do anything to a country the size of Venezuela. They are however enough to prevent Venezuela from conducting mischief.

        • Mark, having begun my journey in the 1930s, I’m a credible historian by having lived a good piece of it, having taken an interest, having travelled widely and as a product of it, having become a sceptic early.

          Now, I love the USA. I believe my own life outside of the USA would by now be unlivable without the USA. I love Donald Trump. But it is no paradox that the most powerful nation on earth can engage in exercising power outside of its jurisdiction, and not always wisely. However, I’m an equal opportunity sceptic. I’m an honest man, something I wouldn’t have had to say to people of a couple of generations ago and my mental (being tuned in these days can look like paranoia) and physical health seems to be holding well so far. I’m a niche international consulting engineer and geologist, still active with five projects.

          • That someone can exercise power outside his jurisdiction is not evidence that they are doing so now.
            Even if the claim of 5000 troops is true, is there any evidence that there purpose is to invade Venezuela?

    • Doing business with China was the big policy to bring them into the world and remove threats to peace.. Well that has backfired, hasn’t it! With Xi Jinping now emperor for life and on a massive expansion, China is now by far the largest threat to world peace .

      • So sez Mike Pence at the Hudson Institute.
        Lost in Pence’s pontificating is that China and Xi say clearly they are using in fact the American System and look at the strides they make!

      • I don’t think so. The Chinese know what side their bread is buttered on. Trump overturned a bunch of applecarts that needed overturning. Things will be different, but don’t let sabre rattling spoil your sleep.

        China was embolded by Obama’s mismanagement and the ridiculous flattery from the Western neomarxy elitist set, particularly the collapsing European wing of it. China has already felt the terror of slowing growth and they will wisely accommodate Trump for their own good. I’ve been to China several times and Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu look a lot like New York – this is no coincidence. Xie particularly lked the chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago and the video of US cruise missiles raining down on Damascas.

      • Did the poor vote for the idiots who are killing nuclear?
        If so, then they have reaped the whirlwind.
        Being poor does not protect one from the consequences of your actions.

    • We are governed by morons, who were elected by idiots!
      Can you imagine an over 11 billion cost, brand new , coal-fired power plant being decommissioned before it’s operational? Only German Greens in a world rescue mania, can do that for foolish “climate protection”!

  13. This is not rocket science.

    The Germans obviously picked Russian gas, as Russian gas is and will be much cheaper than LNG.

    It is surreal, that we are endless fighting about CAGW and talking about the same old green stuff that does not work, when there is a jump up down, paradigm changing energy breakthrough, that was built and tested 50 years ago.

    The Germans can have cheaper than coal energy, with no CO2 emissions, and with no Russian political strings. The Germans can solve their crazy CAGW ‘problem’.

    It is an engineering fact, that we now have a fission reactor design (design in question is in commercial development and could be accelerated rather than fighting to get more money for green stuff that does not work) that can be mass produced, that competes with coal on price all-in, that is 6 times more fuel efficient than current water reactors, that cannot have a catastrophic fuel rod/core meltdown, that cannot have catastrophic overpressure, cannot have catastrophic hydrogen explosions, that cannot have catastrophic core exposure, that cannot have a catastrophic coolant failure, and so on.

    A NASA engineer while looking for a fission reactor to use on a moon base re-discovered a fission reactor design that was built 50 years ago. That reactor design has no fuel rods and has no water in the reactor. It is the no brainer fission reactor design. Paradigm changing.

      • Hi, yes.

        I am working on a proper summary of this issue (it is an interesting story for a general audience).

        Rather than waste trillions on green stuff that does not work, the CAGW crowd can accelerate this no brainer. They need a plan that does not destroy our economy and still enables them to pointless reduce CO2 emissions.

        This is win-win. A fission design that produces heat at 600C (compared to a pressure water reactor that produces hot water at 315C), that has no catastrophic failure modes, that operates at atmospheric pressure, that is sealed, that can provide heat for the industrial applications which are roughly equal to the current electrical load, in addition to the electric load.

        This is a link to a video that was made by the chief technology Officer of the new company that is developing the ‘new’ reactor design in both Canada and the US.

        Terrestrial Energy

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgTgV3Kq49U

        https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609194/advanced-nuclear-finds-a-more-welcome-home-in-canada/

        Terrestrial Energy unveils SMR licensing plans

        Terrestrial included the status of the design, analyses, testing, licensing, and project planning for its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR), which is a liquid-fuelled, high-temperature, 400 MWt advanced reactor power plant design.

        Terrestrial is examining four sites for its first commercial plant, which include the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and additional sites east of the Mississippi River.

        Last year, New York-headquartered Terrestrial Energy USA’s parent, Canada’s Terrestrial Energy Inc, announced its plans to engage with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in a pre-licensing design review, a first step towards an eventual licence application.

  14. “In response, Germany and Russia said they didn’t need EU approval for the pipeline – only national approval from the four EU countries it’s passing through (Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany).”

    Oh-oh – another EU country arguing in favor of retaining and exercising national sovereignty? Maybe we’ll see a Gerexit?

    • More than 1 German party wants that. One unfortunately wants National Monetarism, not really an alternative.

  15. The EU’s E flank is already heavily dependent on Russian Gas (Baltics, Finland), as is Ukraine, of course.

    Apart from Russian Gas, there is Kazakh Gas, Iranian Gas or American LNG. You take your pick. Either that or you burn coal. Or go back on the commitment to phase out nuclear power.

    The Greens and other would-be planet-savers need to decide which it is. More solar & wind ‘farms’ will not cut it.

  16. The fun part is when Russia decides to ‘turn off the tap ‘ when it suits them for political reasons.
    Merkel better hope it is not on her watch .

    • Sure… And when was the last time this occurred? Notwithstanding that when the US decides to stop shipping LNG for political reasons… that’s all fine right? The US has never been known to invade, meddle, pressure…

      • Sorry, it is nothing to do with some ‘left wing ‘love-in, or anti-USA sentament it just business for the Russias and if you don’t think that can shut the line down for ‘maintenance ‘ when its most needed you are kidding no one but yourself.

        • knr, you seem to have forgotten the initial US response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Jimmy Carter administration said it would cut off grain exports to the Soviets. The American farmers ‘suggested’ that was not helpful to them. Instead the US boycotted the Moscow Olympics.
          The two sides in a trading relationship have mutual interests and dependencies and are unlikely to make rash decisions. You can’t hurt the other without hurting yourself. Is this not the rationale of the Founding Fathers who espoused ‘Trade with everyone, entangling alliances with no one’?

          • they can sell the gas anytime, to anyone
            If its ‘freezing ‘ in Germany and with coal and nuclear gone and renewable being ‘off-line’ only one side has all the aces

          • Very interesting Trump’s comment on Afghanistan – he said Russia was right to go after the terrorists. And Iraq was the biggest mistake the US ever made. Anyway toops are leaving Syria right now, and Afghanistan soon (after 17 years and $900 billion).

  17. Mr. Putin said it loud and clear:
    -How will you heat your homes, with firewood ? Even that has to come from Siberia.
    https://youtu.be/xDQDyt0B-1E

    So far for Energiewende (change of energy), the German suicidal energy starvation electoral opportunism.

      • The WBGU German Advisory Council on Global Change from then Merkel’s “science” advisor Dr. Schellnhuber CBE.
        Incredible the same madness turns up in AOC’s GND- parts of which since pulled from the internet.
        Looks like the Dems have been Germanized, Green is the new Brown.

        • The old Brown is the new Green, in fact.
          News Magazine FOCUS Reveals German Green Movement’s Very Brown Roots

          If you ever wondered why people in the Green Movement often seem to take on an air of arrogance, condescending superiority, to be masterful at propaganda, spiteful of human population, preoccupied with lebensraum, intolerant of other views and just plain bossy, journalists Michael Miersch and David Harnasch tell us what is probably behind it.

  18. Read your history please. Way back post the 2 ns WW, France had a fear that Germany, a country where unlike easy going France, the people actually work, would again take over Europe. Of course they forgot all about their own Napolian and his day.

    So France wanted to create a economic union, so it would not be possible for any European country to go to war, without wreaking its economy. This far simpler version was what the UK joined up to.

    But then the buracrats gradually took over, and Brussels became the headquarters of a political union of Europe, which the UK now wants to get out of.

    I can see nothing wrong with this deal, it appears to be a win/win one. If the likes of Mercal wish to go back to the 18th century, so be it, but the rest of the people of Germany like their present reasonably high standard of living.

    The only query is, how long will Russia have enough Natural gas ?

    MJE

  19. Germany is dependent on imported fuel. Therefore, the government tries to create as many different transport routes. There is the South route, a pipeline that runs through the Ukraine. But sometimes Ukraine does not pay its withdrawn quantities. Then Russia will block this pipeline. and also Germany will not get any oil! Mostly in winter. That’s why Russia and Germany are building the new pipeline. In addition, there are also terminals for seagoing ships which can unload their gas or oil there toget gas or oil to Germany or Europe. A lot of oil comes from the Arab States, but these are not always safe partners. There is no dependency on a single pipeline. Of course, the US government is trying to prevent the pipeline because it prefers to sell its own oil or gas.
    I hope you understand that the German government sets other priorities in this matter than the US government.

      • Isn’t it fantastic how clariry of insights increses with distance! The further away you are and the less you know the clearer you see the solution. Or is this a sickness that is more commen in US and UK?
        BjornD

        • Why do you object to the notion that Germany shouldn’t be abandoning methods of producing power that work?
          If Germany is so dependent on foreign sources that it has to enter a devil’s bargain with Russia, should it really be killing nuclear and coal plants?

          • It is quite good if you have a reserve. Why should Germany produce shale gas as long as cheap gas is available from elsewhere? Fracking is worthwhile only when gas is expensive. Then Germany and other countries will also think about such options. Remember we need fuel also in 100 years.
            In a globalized world, it makes sense to think about what you make yourself and what you buy from the outside. For example, There are cheap good products from China. We import. For this we export high quality expensive products. Why should we, for example, produce cheap sweaters in Germany if they are twice as expensive? That just does not make sense. And that’s why we do not impose high tariffs on Chinese products and have established a customs union with Japan.

  20. “Their view, just about the only thing they agree on, is that the new pipeline will lock Europe into long-term dependence on Russian gas.”

    By which they simply mean that Russian gas is the cheapest option?
    Nobody is really “locked” into anything. Russia isn’t forcing Western Europe into buying the cheapest available option (though Russia might be said to be locked into long-term dependence on Western European hard currency). If they wish, France and Germany remain free to buy energy from more expensive sources, but maybe they are running out of the stomach for it.

    • >If they wish, France and Germany remain free to buy energy from more expensive sources<

      Yes, but why should they?

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