The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is slowly but surely transforming from an ambitions into reality. Despite all debates and contradictions within the EU on the matter, an additional gas pipeline from Russia has received the first partial permission in Germany.

The Mining management of the German city of Stralsund has allowed the construction of the North Stream 2 pipeline. It is about construction on part of the continental shelf of Germany. The Ministry of Energy of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has confirmed this information and stated that the permit was granted on November 2. A Nord Stream-2 company represntative - which directly implements the gas pipeline project - called it the first step towards obtaining a general permit from Germany. 

The North Stream first stage was put up into operation in November 2011. But the next one has faced political opposition, the main motives of which are quite reasonable: it is unwillingness to fall in more dependence from Russian energy sources, as well as to strengthen the Moscow-Berlin tandem.

The North Stream 2 has actually opposed Germany to the "New Europe" countries. The largest opponent of the second stage of the gas pipeline project is Poland. In addition to it, among those, who doesn't approve Russia's role as an enegry supply monopolist in Europe are Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Denmark, which leaders have also shown their negative relation to the gas pipeline construction.

Back in March of the last year, governments of the aforementioned states of the Intermarium region addressed a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, in which they expressed a categorical disagreement with construction of the Russian gas pipeline, which would double direct deliveries of gas from Russia to Germany. In the open letter were emphasized not only economical but also political risks the project would bring, in particular it was stated that the North Stream 2 could lead to destabilizing Europe-wide geopolitical consequences.

Last year, the North Stream-2 opponents managed to express their position through the European Parliament. MEPs called on the EU Commission to prevent further Member States' dependence on Russian gas and refuse the Russian project. As the adopted resolution states: "Doubling the capacity of the North Stream 2 gas pipeline could have serious consequences in the field of energy security, diversification of supply sources, and also threaten solidarity among Member States."

A certain blow to the construction of the "North Stream-2" has been caused caused by sanctions imposed on Russia by Washington this summer. These sanctions in particular impose restrictions on companies involved in the implementation of the North Stream-2. Senator republican Mike Crapo - a co-author of the additional sanctions draft - explained that the new law imposes sanctions on those who invest or support the construction of Russian energy export gas pipelines. Recall, American sanctions against Russia met with criticism from a number of left-liberal European politicans, including Angela Merkel.

As we see, it is a fundamental issue for the US to prevent the North Stream-2 construction. First, with the republican candidate coming to power, the United States have been pursuing more active European policy, in particular through increasing support to Central European states. Thus, Tramp expressed his negative relation towards the North Stream-2 project during his recent visit to Warsaw. Secondly, the US is interested in supplying its own liquefied natural gas to Central Europe.

Ukraine, by virtue of its capabilities, is also involved in countering the North Stream-2. This opposition brings together many geopolitical players and still has some chances for success. But the economic and, to some extent, the political alliance of Russia and Germany is very strong. So, it is likely that the confrontation with the new branch of the "North Stream" will be protracted.

by Dmytro SULIMA