Nord Stream 2 a 'geopolitical project' says Rinkēvičs

The proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is a 'geopolitical project', Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said appearing on LTV June 30.

"Lately I dislike using the word 'geopolitics', which is often used with or without any justification, but this time it's more of a political rather than a business project," he said.

He also listed four significant risks, acknowledged by the government and ministries, that the pipeline might pose.

"First of all there's the security risk for our region, taking into account the NATO presence," he said, suggesting that business activities Ventspils port could potentially be used as a cover for espionage.

"Secondly, it's a foreign policy risk as it's yet another attempt to pit EU countries against each other, bringing the US into it and to screw with Ukraine," said the Latvian Foreign Minister.

"Thirdly, and here I agree with the president of the Council of Europe, it goes against common EU policy," said Rinkēvičs, claiming that the proposed pipeline would make Europe more, not less energy-dependent. 

"And lastly we have to look at environmental risks. No matter how sophisticated the technologies, this too has to be looked at with all due seriousness," he said.

The Foreign Minister also played down the potential economic benefits of the proposed pipeline, saying that national safety and long-term development goals are more important.

The total cost of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be €9.5 billion, underwritten by Russian state company Gazprom and a consortium of European energy companies.

Latvia, along with Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, is officially opposed to the project, arguing that it will increase dependence on Russian gas and bypass supplies via Ukraine.

However, that opposition does not seem to be carrying much weight, with the experts saying pipes will be laid at a rate of three kilometers per day and the whole thing can be constructed in less than two years.

The Baltic states are not the only ones expressing concern about Nord Stream 2, with recent commentary focusing on the remarkable speed with which the project is being carried forward.

The official website of the project, with access to the full technical details and reports is HERE.

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