New German CDU chief: there are no grounds to cancel Nord Stream pipeline

New German CDU chief: there are no grounds to cancel Nord Stream pipeline

Germany should not drop support for the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, the man best placed to be the next German chancellor said.

Pointing to U.S. purchases of crude oil from Russia, Armin Laschet described himself as a political realist and said: "We have to take the world as it is in order to make it better."

Laschet, who last month won an election to the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said both values and interests were important in diplomacy.

"But feel-good moralising and domestic slogans are not foreign policy," Laschet, who is premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said.

Asked directly whether Germany should change course and renounce the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, Laschet replied: "For 50 years, even in the aggressive times of the Cold War, Germany has bought gas from the Soviet Union, now from Russia. The German government is following the right course."

Laschet stressed that he had criticised the attack on Navalny and his imprisonment, and also supported European Union sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

"We must guarantee Ukraine’s geopolitical interests and secure our energy supply through this private-sector project," he said of Nord Stream 2.

Laschet did not believe these differences would be a coalition deal breaker. “I don’t think Nord Stream 2 will be a big election issue. Moreover, I think consensus with the Greens, for example, is possible," Reuters cited him as saying.