Germany: Laschet faces ‘battle’ to be chancellor says expert
Daniel Kawczynski was speaking after remarks by CDU leader Mr Laschet on Friday in relation to the controversial oil pipeline, which will bring liquified gas directly from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The development has been the subject of significant criticism, not least from Joe Biden and his predecessor as US President Donald Trump, with opponents concerned at the bypassing of Ukraine and Belarus.
Concerns have intensified still further since Russia’s recent build-up of troops on its border with Ukraine.
Mr Laschet, speaking during a televised debate which focused on foreign and security policy, said of Nord Stream 2, which is now 95 percent complete: “I stand by the project and consider it important.”
Referring to Mr Biden’s announcement that the USA would not be imposing sanctions on companies involved in the development, Mr Laschet, sometimes dubbed “mini-Merkel” as a result of his close adherence to Mrs Merkel’s political ideals, suggested he would not be influenced by international disapproval.
Armin Laschet’s closeness politically to Angela Merkel has seen him dubbed “mini-Merkel”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
He explained: “This decision on how we organise our energy supply we make ourselves, by the way, and so it is a good signal that the policy of President Trump has ended.”
“Germany always has Ukraine’s security in mind.”
Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, told Express.co.uk: “I’m very disappointed – obviously, NATO is a very exclusive club, it only has 30 members and it’s the most successful military alliance in my lifetime.
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A giant effigy intended as an amalgam of Armin Laschet and Angela Merkel
“With that extraordinary privilege comes a responsibility not only to our fellow NATO partners in Central and Eastern Europe who themselves are very publicly outlining their fears about the ramifications of this pipeline, perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow but in the ensuing years.
“And ultimately if one day is replaced by somebody who is even more confrontational, and has an even greater sense of asserting Russian influence and power then this pipeline is obviously something which is going to enable them to do that.”
Mr Kawczsynki added: “In addition to the NATO partners, I refer to Ukraine, and Belarus, which are countries very sensitive to any form of energy manipulation by Russia because they’re so dependent on those Russian gas supplies.
Armin Laschet is hoping to succeed Mrs Merkel as Germany’s Chancellor
Nord Stream 2 is 95 percent complete
“In fact, Ukraine is going to lose, according to some estimates, up to $3-$4billion a year for transit costs.
“So all of this is something which is creating a great deal of problems, and I’m very disappointed of course with the German response.
“It is also very disappointing to see the American President, actually back down from sanctions against this project when we are so close to a potential huge change in German politics.”
Angela Merkel timeline
With the Greens looking likely to be the CDU’s partners in a post-election coalition, Mr Kawczynski explained: “I’m interested in a geopolitical perspective, whereas I think the Greens in Germany are interested purely from, from an environmental perspective.
“If you can merge environmental factors with military and strategic factors, this should be a very interesting story for many people interested in both.”
Asked about the prospects of Mr Laschet becoming Germany’s Chancellor, he said: “What I would say is that those sort of comments are obviously highly regrettable and not in keeping with the lead that Germany, ostensibly ought to be giving.
“The Germans are very quick to lecture Poland, about CO2 emissions and the need to have more green technology whilst continuing to build huge amounts of coal power stations.
US President Joe Biden
“There is a sense of the resistance of perhaps hypocrisy here. Germany is at the forefront in trying to establish commonality across the whole of Europe through the European Union.
He added: “This flies in the face of what is meant to be a common EU energy policy.
“It is a sort of I’m all right, Jack scenario – as long as they get their cheap gas from Russia and continue to pour billions of dollars in into Russia they’re okay.
“That is that is not in keeping with the principles, I would argue, in fact the concept of the European Union.”