When Alexej Navalnyj is about to make his way to the prison camp, comes for Angela Merkel the moment to speak nine words. They could read: “I cannot support the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.” At first glance, that would not be much. Officially, Merkel never “supported” the Baltic Sea pipeline anyway. She just said the tube was private and she saw no reason to prevent it. Merkel would not have to admit a mistake with such a sentence. Nevertheless, the effect would be enormous.
First, it would put some European partners into alert mode of action. Most of them, especially Poland and France, have either always been against Nord Stream 2, or at least they have been since Vladimir Putin Attacks on Navalnyj. So far, however, they have not been able to do anything. EU sanctions that could finally or temporarily stop the Russian Baltic Sea pipeline have always been possible. Nevertheless, no one has ever seriously asked for it to be adopted in the European Council. After all, everyone knew that Merkel would use her veto.
The second, however, in which she says that she does not support the management, it would be clear: A veto will not come. Merkel would then not have to do anything else. For example, if Poland put sanctions on the agenda, she would only have to abstain from voting.
Europe cannot ignore the violation of treaties
A sentence from Berlin would give Europe a means to deal with the drama Nawalnyj Follow up with action. It has to be now, because the case is not an internal matter for Russia. He is the latest of a whole series of violations of international law since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Navalnyj’s arrest ignores a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, and the Novichok attack on him violates the 1997 Chemical Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty. Europe, however, is essentially built from treaties . It cannot ignore their hurt.
But not just the abstract values of the ME would be strengthened by nine words from the Chancellery, but also their real cohesion. Putin’s pipeline is designed to bypass Ukraine as a gas transit country. When the pipe is ready, the president can rekindle the frozen war against this country without fear of disruptions in western exports. For the NATO countries in the east, that would be a new dimension of Russian threat. That is why they have always viewed Merkel’s tolerance of the leadership as a disregard for their core interests. France also sees it that way. Germany, the EU’s center of gravity, threatens to lose its binding force. A word of clarification can change that.