How blind, deluded or naïve was the federal government when it came to approving the new Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline? A report available to “Spiegel” shows that Germany has naively become dependent on Russian gas.

The 54-page confidential report by the Ministry of Economics deals with the question of whether Nord Stream-2 strengthens or endangers Germany’s gas supply. The “supply security analysis”, as the report is officially called, was passed on to the competent approval authority, the Federal Network Agency, by the then Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) much too late. Altmaier only sent the paper two days before the end of the regular reign.

The “Spiegel” calls the report a “certificate of naivety”, which casts a particularly bad light on the finance minister at the time: Olaf Scholz.

In the letter, the Federal Government at the time looked far too positively at the second Baltic Sea tube and almost cheered the chances. “The gas and electricity supply of the Federal Republic of Germany will not be endangered,” it says. Even “the special circumstances of the individual case” do not change anything. It is also in line with the “principle of energy solidarity” in the EU. The concerns of the eastern states about “Putin’s bypass pipeline” were completely ignored.

From the statement in the report that the “EU import dependency has increased significantly” and is now “almost 90 percent”, the Ministry of Economic Affairs draws the conclusion: “In this context, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline increases European security of supply, since it enables the gas supply from new fields on the Yamal Peninsula.” The ministry fails to recognize the additional dependency.

It is justified by the fact that the stability of the European gas systems will be strengthened if other energy sources fail. However, a loss of Russia as a gas supplier is not taken into account.

The government also viewed the pipeline operator Gazprom, which is completely in the hands of the Russian state, far too naively. It is said that the transport network operator “basically has no influence on the volume of deliveries passed through”, but “only provides the transport infrastructure for suppliers and customers”. A mistake that the current delivery stop via Nord-Stream-1 shows only too clearly.

There were enough warnings in the EU. Poland and Ukraine in particular voiced their concerns during the hearing process for the report. The Ukrainian gas company pointed out that Gazprom had already cut delivery volumes through Ukrainian pipelines in autumn 2021.

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Warnings that would arrive just a few months later. But the Ministry of Economics came to a different conclusion in the report: “The BMWi has examined this information, but does not see sufficient evidence for a specific threat to the gas supply security through the certification.”

Earlier this week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke at the mechanical engineering summit about the fact that he had always known that Putin used energy supplies “as a weapon”.

Knowledge that he still ignores in the report. There is nothing to read about similar concerns on the part of the then Federal Minister of Finance.

Much worse: Ukraine’s fear that Russia will stop gas transport through the country as soon as Nord Stream 2 goes into operation is dismissed by experts in the report. It is not a problem for the EU supply. It says: The Ukraine transit is “not absolutely necessary for the security of supply in the EU because its interruption can be largely compensated for”.

The scenario that Russia could turn off the gas tap completely is not played out in the report. Now it is reality – and Germany is naïvely steered towards it.

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