Biden and Merkel fail to reach consensus about Nord Stream 2 pipeline project

President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday failed to reach a consensus about the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. 

The pipeline project has been a point of friction between the US and Germany. While Germany supports the pipeline project, the US argues that it will give Russia political power to exert pressure on European nations. 

Talking about the disagreement, Biden said “Good friends can disagree,” and further added that Merkel and himself “are absolutely united in our conviction” that Russia cannot use energy as a weapon to “coerce or threaten its neighbors,” particularly Ukraine. 

Biden waived off sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, which is running the project, further adding that but by the time he became president, it was 90% completed, “and imposing sanctions did not seem to make any sense.”

According to CNBC, Biden and Chancellor Merkel have asked their team to examine whether Europe’s energy security is “strengthened or weakened” based on Russian actions. 

Biden was criticized in May by both Democrats and Republicans for waiving the sanctions against the company. According to Reuters, the waiver was to allow time to work out a deal with Germany but no agreement was forthcoming in time for Merkel’s visit.