Europe's economies need Russian gas in order to remain competitive

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EU countries: The planned route bypasses central and eastern European countries such as Slovakia and Poland, leaving them without a chance to collect lucrative gas transit fees.

In response to Trump's accusations that Germany was captive to Russia, Merkel - who grew up in East Germany - on Wednesday cautioned the president that she may be in a better position to judge her country's dependence.

"Let's not forget that Nord Stream 2 is an global project, not simply Russian-German".

Trump, who never misses a chance to accuse Angela Merkel's Germany of free-riding on USA generosity, told North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that Nord Stream 2 would make Berlin "captive" to Russian interests. We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation.

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"I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions".

Five European companies have been involved in Nord Stream 2 - Wintershall and Uniper from Germany, OMV from Austria, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Engie from France.

Trump is, however, wrong to say that Germany is "is totally controlled by Russian Federation because they will be getting from 60 percent to 70 percent of their energy from Russian Federation and a new pipeline". His remarks were rejected by German officials. In 2017, Germany used up a record 53 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, comprising about 40 percent of Germany's total gas consumption.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called Nord Stream 2 a "political bribe" from Russian Federation to Germany. "Natural gas pipelines implied mutual trust within a stable relationship, which led to further collaborations, including cooperation in nuclear power", he explained. And he has fastened a "witch hunt" tag to the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible planning between Russian Federation and Trump's Republican presidential campaign. He later said they discussed Nord Stream 2 but did not give specifics of the conversation. There are always other options, the US secretary said, noting that the parties had held frank discussions on Nord Stream 2. The Trump administration also reportedly is weighing fresh economic sanctions against Moscow if it moves forward with the pipeline.

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