Maas: Talks with the US on Nord Stream 2 on track | free press

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Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Washington is intended to support new beginnings in German-US relations. It remains to be seen whether anything concrete will emerge from the remaining controversial issues.

Detroit / New York / Washington (dpa) – Federal Secretary of State Heiko Maas sees talks with the US about the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on the right track.

“There has been a lot of preparatory work in recent weeks and I think we have come closer on many points,” the SPD politician said during his trip to the United States in Detroit.

Maas did not predict whether a breakthrough could be announced at the meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden at the White House next Thursday. “It is important that we have a goal in mind and that I am also confident that we will reach the goal,” he said. The timing is secondary. “But of course it would be nice if that were the case while the chancellor is in Washington.”

Merkel meets Biden

Merkel travels to Washington today and meets with Biden Thursday afternoon (local time). The pipeline between Russia and Germany is almost ready. The US and some Eastern European NATO partners fear that Europe is too dependent on the Russian energy supply and therefore reject the project. Under Biden, however, the US waived sanctions against the operating company and agreed to talk to Germany to deal with the fallout. Its main purpose is to provide security to Ukraine.

Maas does not expect any movement during Merkel’s visit to the strict American entry restrictions for Europeans due to the corona pandemic. “So far there has been little willingness to feel, also in view of the numbers rising again in Europe,” he said.

The EU has decided to make it easier for travelers from the United States to enter the European Union. In the opposite direction, however, strict conditions still apply. The German economy sees this as an important effect on economic relations with the US.

Maas left Tuesday for a three-day trip to the US and first visited the largest production facility of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer in the state of Michigan and the headquarters of car manufacturer Ford in Detroit. He then traveled to New York on Tuesday evening, where he will meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday.