US President Donald Trump will visit Warsaw. This is a great opportunity to announce new sanctions against Nord Stream 2, which, however, will not be proof of success, but the failure of transatlantic policy – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
Trump in Poland and Denmark
US President Donald Trump and his wife will visit Poland and Denmark – says the White House. The purpose of the visit is, inter alia, to “face common security challenges in the region”. The White House’s announcement informs that the US president will take part in the commemoration ceremony of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Warsaw, and then in Copenhagen he will meet with the Queen of Denmark and representatives of the local business. Interestingly, Denmark’s disagreement for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may delay the implementation of the project, which was originally to be completed by the end of this year.
Trump will meet representatives of the Danish business not without a reason. On the one hand, these may be the representatives of Energinet.dk, a company co-responsible with the Polish Gaz-System for the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline project, supported by the United States as a tool to reduce dependence on gas from Russia implemented in NATO countries: Poland-Denmark-Norway, so beneficial from the point of view of US security policy in the region. On the other hand, it may be representatives of Blue Water Shipping, a Danish company dealing with the supply and storage of almost 115,000 pipes for the construction of Nord Stream 2, which may be affected by possible sanctions.
According to Handelsblatt, the US president may sign a US sanctions project against Nord Stream 2 partners and it is “probable”. Handelsblatt summarizes the potential sanctions goals: a gas pipeline contractor, Swiss Allseas, as well as tools: visa ban and blocking financial transactions. Nord Stream 2 AG, one hundred percent owned by Gazprom, continues to assess the potential impact of the regulation and does not comment on the matter. Nevertheless, the Austrian project partner, OMV, is convinced that the first gas will be pumped through Nord Stream 2 by the end of this year.
Will Trump really do it? On the one hand, sanctions against Nord Stream 2 partners are justified from the point of view of the cross-party US security policy, as well as the support of Baltic Pipe. Only the pariahs like Republican Ron Paul, who rhetorically compared America to God the usurper who wants to decide in which direction gas is to flow in the world are against such a view on energy security. On the other hand, unilateral US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project will strike the companies of European Union countries. They will prove the divergence of policy between Washington and Brussels.
It is not known whether Trump will decide to announce sanctions during his visit to Warsaw. However, this would be another opportunity to promote the narrative of “spoiled” Western Europe and “healthy” Central and Eastern Europe, which can count on the support of the administration of Donald Trump presenting himself as one of the leaders of the conservative revolution alongside Jarosław Kaczyński or Viktor Orban. In my opinion, this transatlantic unity is more important than sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project, which thanks to the progressive diversification of gas supplies to Poland is not an existential threat to it, as for Ukraine.
It is worth recalling that in the past, Trump did not hesitate to act alone and restore sanctions on Iranian oil exports that hit its main consumers in Europe, that is Western European countries and were an example of unilateral policy against the signatories of the nuclear agreement: France, Germany and Great Britain. Incidentally, they also hit the plans of Polish companies counting on contracts in Iran.
It is not certain what Trump will do in Warsaw. The eyes of observers of foreign policy and the fate of the Nord Stream 2 project should be returned to the capital of Poland on the first of September. Will the US president use the next anniversary of the outbreak of World War II for the next controversial movement?