Merkel ‘under pressure’ to put Nord Stream 2 on hold says expert
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Yuriy Vitrenko, CEO of Ukraine energy giant Naftogaz, has told Express.co.uk that bloc members may sabotage their unity after Mr Putin reportedly decreased the flow of gas travelling into the EU. Mr Putin is awaiting approval from European regulators for the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to transport gas from Russia into Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and Poland.
Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, reportedly restricted the flow of gas from existing pipelines in the hope to avoid the new pipeline from being subject to EU rules.
Mr Vitrenko has claimed that the deal for the pipeline, which was stuck up between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Russian President, could leave the EU weak and divided.
He told Express.co.uk: “Putin is strong and the West is weak.
“Europe becomes much more divided and morally damaged because many countries like Hungary could say ‘look don’t criticize us for doing deals with Putin when you are doing deals with him yourself’.
“Some other countries might say, ‘don’t tell us about fighting corruption when Nord Stream 2 could become a symbol of Western corruption’.”
Mr Vitrenko stressed that western values and its purported global reputation are on the line.
He warned: “Putin wants to take Europe off this higher moral ground back to his level so it even sends a signal to his own electorate in Russia when he says the ‘look the West is corrupt as you say I am corrupt’.
“He can show that the West is weak, the West is corrupt, and his regime is somehow superior.
“Autocrats don’t want the West and western values to spread over their countries because they see it as a real danger to their own regimes.”
He stressed that this could divide the EU and put them in a weak position in the global hierarchy as member states turn their back on Brussels.
He added: “I don’t think that one thing can change everything, but this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
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“As we saw with Brexit, there is already a lot of pressure on the EU, so putting more pressure on the EU and dividing Europe, challenging the fundamentals on the EU like the rule of law
“Of course, it doesn’t make Europe stronger, it makes Europe weaker and we will see a lot of pressure on the EU as a bloc, as a union, because of this, and that’s exactly what Putin wants.”
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