A win for journalists. Nord Stream 2 documents to be declassified and Poland may ask for them

Niemcy-i-Rosja-topwar Olaf Scholz and Manuela Schwesig open the FSRU in Lubmin. Picture by Chancellery's office.

The German Ministry of Economy and Environment has not yet released the files on the Nord Stream 2 project requested by journalists. The court will force the ministry to do so. The politician at the centre of the scandal will visit Poland soon.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany was completed with the help of the Stiftung Klimaschutz Foundation founded by the Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern when Manuela Schwesig of the SPD was its Prime Minister.

Journalists from Bild and Die Welt sued the German Ministry of Economy for blocking access to information about Nord Stream 2, invoking the law on freedom of information and information on the environment. The Administrative Court in Berlin ordered to disclose the data requested by journalists. These files concern the approval of the construction of Nord Stream 2 and the work of the foundation until May 6, 2022.

Legal Tribune Online obtained the decision of the court in Berlin, which talks about free access to information and special rights of the press in this regard. On top of that, according to the Stiftung Klimaschutz’s statute the organization is involved in environmental protection activities, which is the basis for acknowledging the journalists’ demands. Allegedly, the court also criticized the Ministry of Economy for not wanting to provide journalists with the files due to the fact that they total 57,000 pages, and it would require a lot of effort to ensure that the confidential information included there is properly protected. The Ministry estimated it would take 9,500 hours to ensure that. The court said that this would not be a disproportionate effort and stated that the 10 minutes-per page estimate was too high.

The Ministry of Economy and Environment is required to disclose files related to Nord Stream 2 and the controversial foundation. It has one month to do so. However, it can make an appeal. Interestingly, Manuela Schwesig, currently acting as the head of the Bundesrat, will visit Poland at the end of February at the invitation of the Marshal of the Senate Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska.

LTO / Wojciech Jakóbik