Following US newest sanctions towards Russia, Germany reacted against this new wave of sanctions:

Germany threatened on Friday to retaliate against the United States if new sanctions on Russia being proposed by the U.S. Senate end up penalizing German firms.

The Senate bill, approved on Thursday by a margin of 98-2, includes new sanctions against Russia and Iran. Crucially, it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines.

This seems to be economically related, as some German companies are involved in export pipelines projects:

Berlin fears that could pave the way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.

Among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas group Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie.

However, according to this source, EU has an opposite approach when it comes to energy politics:

In the midst of growing conflicts over the expansion of the German-Russian Nord Stream pipeline, the European Union (EU) Commission has taken steps over the past week to reduce European dependence on Russian gas

East European countries seem to be among the most vocal against the pipeline between Russia and Germany:

The Nord Stream 2 project, meant to pipe natural gas from Russia across the Baltic Sea into Germany, unleashed a blizzard of opposition, particularly from Eastern European countries and even former President Barack Obama’s administration, after it was announced in 2015. Some critics say the pipeline doesn’t make economic sense and isn’t needed; the original Nord Stream pipe is only about half used. And many worry it would redouble Europe’s reliance on Russian energy imports and make it easier for Moscow to use energy as a blunt political tool to strongarm neighbors.

Question: why does Germany seem to not favor EU energy independence?

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    IIRC, part of the rationale was to diversify supply. Not from the producer, but from issues with the country the gasoduct runs through. For example, between 2005 and 2009 there were a series of disputes between Russia and Ukraine that led to Russia cutting down gas shipment through Ukraine and gas shortage down the line (Central Europe)
    – SJuan76
    Jun 16 '17 at 20:38
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    Perhaps Germany is unhappy that the US is effectively bullying them into buying gas exclusively from the US (which may be more expensive) and abusing their powers of sanctions. Jun 17 '17 at 7:11
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    Gemanyy of course has a massive energy problem called the "Energiewende". It is trying at the same time to close nuclear plants as well as reduce carbon emissions. That's a bit of a problem as it's a country with fairly dark, cold winters. That effectively excludes solar, and wind is unreliable. Natural gas might not be carbon-neutral, but it's much better than the peat Germany currently burns. But that leaves open the question, why Russia?
    – MSalters
    Jun 17 '17 at 23:36
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    The pipeline is about reducing reliance on Ukraine. Russian gas isn't easy to replace in the short-term, it's not like there would be a magic bullet Germany would ignore for no reason. It has also been investing in renewable energies or energy efficiency, it's not like “being dependent” was a policy goal.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 18 '17 at 20:48
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    @MSalters That's a bit overblown, most of these nuclear power plants were nearing their end of life anyway and natural gas had become a logical choice from a technological and economical point of view. The Energiewende hasn't created this problem, if anything over reliance on lignite is the main issue. Also, solar energy is not as useless as you make it to be, currently, in Germany, it provides about half as much as wind, more than hydropower. I could also be captured elsewhere and transported.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 18 '17 at 20:57

It's probably because the "not favouring EU energy independence from Russia" is totally made up.

Look at the first quoted material: It clearly states that Germany threatens to retaliate if Trump take actions that are damaging to German companies. In this situation we have American sanctions, an American explanation why Europe should be happy with these sanctions, and Europeans that clearly don't accept America's self serving reasoning.

  • 1
    Yes, but building a pipe from Russia into the heart of Europe seems to increase relying on Russia's gas, which is clearly against energetic independence from Russia. Of course, whether this is good or bad is debatable, but this is against EU politics.
    – Alexei
    Jun 18 '17 at 11:59
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    @Alexei Who says it increases reliance on their gas? Why couldn't their reliance stay the same?
    – user253751
    Jun 20 '17 at 4:50
  • @immibis - the last source indicates this idea. I have also heard it in the local media (Romania). Of course, most East European countries are biased against Russia due to historical and political reasons. Rekesoft's answer also suggest that the main goal is to have a direct pipe. Theoretically, this could be used to shift the gas transfer from current pipes which transit countries with political trouble (e.g. Ukraine), so there is no actually dependence increase.
    – Alexei
    Jun 20 '17 at 5:15
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    "Theoretically, this could be used to shift the gas transfer from current pipes which transit countries with political trouble (e.g. Ukraine), so there is no actually dependence increase." That is probably the point. Russian gas already flows to Europe, it is not like this is a new situation. But the Ukrainian-Russian conflict has endangered this flow in the past.
    – Thern
    Jan 19 '18 at 10:14

If excuses could be burnt to produce electricity, we'd be all as rich as Bahrain.

But it can't, so we ain't. It's not just like if Mrs. Merkel could snap her fingers and pop a clean fusion reactor near Munich or Berlin. With closing nuclear plants, Germany's only chances are, long-term, renewable energies currently under development, and short term, fossil fuels. Which the only one available in Germany is coal, which is extremely dirty.

Natural gas is an obvious solution, but then you have only so many options:

  • Russia: first global provider. Closer and cheaper. Unreliable due to its political troubles with Europe, specially with other former Soviet countries.

  • Libya: a few years ago, a totally unreliable dictatorship promoting terrorism on European soil. Now it's way worse.

  • The US rest: extremely expensive. Gas should be shipped liquefied in special ships equipped with advanced technology.

With those options, there's only one path to even the most inept politician in the world: buying from Russia, but tackling with the reliability issues. Which is done by making a pipe that crosses no other countries between seller and buyer.

  • 1
    I find it very confusing, because Qatar is shipping natural gas: euractiv.com/section/energy/news/… May I ask the source of your claims?
    – user14816
    Oct 2 '17 at 6:40
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    @Tlen Oh, I didn't know that Qatar had this technology. However, by your own article: "It remains a question, however, whether LNG becomes a viable alternative to Russian gas, as its price is generally expected to be significantly higher than the price of gas coming through pipelines."
    – Rekesoft
    Oct 3 '17 at 13:12
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    "what about Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE?" Are these states any more reliable or politically less problematic than Russia?
    – Thern
    Jan 19 '18 at 10:17
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    LNG production is indeed expensive and too small to replace German gas imports from Russia in the short term but it makes no sense to mention the US while omitting Qatar (largest producer for many years, a quarter of the world production). We are not talking about restricted technology, there are plants in Australia, Malaysia, Algeria, Indonesia, Angola, Trinidad and Tobago, Yemen (!) or indeed even Libya. You also forgot to mention Norway which is a major exporter to the rest of Europe (through pipelines, not LNG ships).
    – Relaxed
    Dec 22 '19 at 1:01
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    You left out the part about Europe has buying gas from the Soviet Union in the past. Even if you buy into the propaganda that Russia is evil. Surely the Soviet Union was way worse. Dec 23 '19 at 20:39

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