Schwesig has a nord stream 2 secret and met with schroder

Schwesig has a nord stream 2 secret and met with schroder

To circumvent U.S. sanctions, SPD premier allies herself with Putin’s state-owned company Gazprom. She systematically avoids publicity. Research by t-online now provides insight for the first time.

It is the 27. April 2018, when Manuela Schwesig enters a restaurant in Berlin at lunchtime. The prime minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has been in power for less than a year, but she has already made Russia policy her top priority. With a business delegation, she went to St. Petersburg, she received the Russian ambassador in Schwerin. Sanctions, it wants to dismantle, move closer to Kremlin.

Despite attack wars. Despite contract killings. Despite Crimea annexation, spying and election interference in the West.

Schwesig’s proximity to Moscow

The new course of then-Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who in a rather uncharacteristic SPD way toughened the tone toward the Kremlin, meets with Schwesig’s rejection. While the party leadership is cautiously trying to distance itself from ruler Vladimir Putin and his quest for great power, there is hardly a leading German Social Democrat closer to Moscow at this time. One of the reasons for this special role runs on behalf of the Russian state corporation Gazprom at the bottom of the Baltic Sea and lands in the tiny community of Lubmin on the Greifswalder Bodden at.

Pipeline pipes at the Sassnitz-Mukran ferry port on the island of Rugen: US senators also threatened the port with sanctions. (Source: imago images)

Pipeline pipes at the Sassnitz-Mukran ferry port on the island of Rugen: US senators also threatened the port with sanctions. (Source: imago images)

Soon, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will be built in the region of St. Petersburg launches, transporting Russian gas to Germany. When Schwesig travels to Berlin in April 2018, however, this is still a dream of the future, especially one that is mingled with discord: Just recently, the U.S. adopted new Russia sanctions and also threatened to take action against Nord Stream 2. Many European partners fear Russian blackmail and even military attacks, which are favored by the project.

But Germany is determined to push it through. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the CDU/CSU are also concerned. But first and foremost the SPD.

This makes Schwesig’s visit to the Berlin restaurant tricky: There is a meeting scheduled without the public, which will remain confidential for years. A protocol is not made, also other documents do not exist in the state chancellery to it. Files relevant was not discussed, it is said today.

However, it is difficult to believe this in view of the tense situation surrounding Russia and the pipeline.

"Personal exchange" in Berlin

Schwesig’s only interlocutor at noon is Gerhard Schroder, former SPD chairman, former chancellor – and for many years also active as a lobbyist for Russian energy companies, including as chairman of the board of directors of Nord Stream 2. He has long been a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And the pipeline is his biggest project, which he sees as a contribution to the "order of stability and peace" in Europe understands.

Gerhard Schroder (left) with Russia's President Putin: Schroder's discussion with Schwesig was merely a'personlicher Austausch' gewesen, heibt es. (Quelle: imago images/Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS)

Gerhard Schroder (left) with Russia’s President Putin: Schroder’s conversation with Schwesig was merely a "personal exchange" been, it is said. (Source: Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/imago images)

Threat of US sanctions? A pipeline under Schroder’s aegis in Schwesig’s area of responsibility? A visit of the German foreign minister to Moscow scheduled a few days later? Putin’s upcoming fourth term? Officially, none of these issues are discussed between the Prime Minister and the former Chancellor. A "personal exchange and no working discussion was that, says the Schwerin government spokesman Andreas Timm on request of t-online.

The ominous climate foundation

Lots of talks, but supposedly little content – that seems to be a constant in Schwesig’s Russia policy. Because the conversation of April 2018 will not remain the only confidential conversation that does not reach the public and that is not kept on file in the State Chancellery. And by no means the only incident that suggests Schwesig’s state government is quite systematically concealing its cooperation with Russian gas traders in completing the pipeline.

The impression is almost oppressive: In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, under SPD-led coalitions, it seems possible to do what would be inconceivable elsewhere in Germany.

Do you have any comments on any of our articles? Have insights into areas that are closed to others? Would you like to expose abuses with the help of our reporters? Please contact us at [email protected] .

As a prime example, the "Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation Mecklenburg-Vorpommern apply: Schwesig’s state government used Gazprom millions to set up the foundation, which sounds as if it is intended to protect the "wonderful nature that is under protection in many areas" of the country. However, its main purpose – at least that is the judgment of numerous critics, and this is also suggested by statements from the foundation – seems to be in the secondary purpose of its statutes: to help build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. After all, gas is the "most climate-friendly transition technology for securing the necessary energy supply".

Firewall against US sanctions

Schwesig’s climate project is essentially a firewall to protect Nord Stream 2 suppliers from Washington’s long arm. Because the U.S. has now imposed sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the pipeline. According to the Climate Foundation, the hastily created construct is intended to undermine them, because the punitive measures explicitly exclude state institutions.

And in order to be able to fulfill this task, the foundation acts like a black hole, from which little light penetrates outwards.

Responsible for it on behalf of the federal state government is the chairman of the foundation Erwin Sellering, predecessor of Schwesig as SPD Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and bearer of the Russian "Order of Friendship". Consequently, one of his main tasks now should be to maintain relations with Russia. Already in its generously funded by the country association "German-Russian partnership", where the Gazprom-sponsored Climate Foundation in Schwerin has meanwhile moved in, a Nord Stream 2 representative sits on the board of directors.

Erwin Sellering, ex-prime minister and head of the Climate Foundation: he doesn't want to talk about the state foundation's aid for Nord Stream 2'Das versteht sich von selbst.' (Quelle: imago images)

Erwin Sellering, ex-prime minister and head of the Climate Foundation: He doesn’t want to talk about the state foundation’s support for Nord Stream 2. "That goes without saying." (Source: imago images)

Sellering makes no secret of the fact that the completion of the German-Russian pipeline is more important than the transparency that a foundation under public law is obliged to provide. Task, organization and goal are clear, transparent and public, he writes on request of t-online.

"In implementation, however, it was a matter of countering the intimidation attempts of a great power in violation of international law", he continues. And, it must be emphasized at this point: With "intimidation attempts in violation of international law" he does not mean Russia, but the United States.

Sellering ends his e-mail with no less clear words: "How we have planned and carried out this in detail will therefore naturally not be made the subject of public discussion by us. This goes without saying."

State foundation refuses to provide information

The secret that Sellering is persistently protecting is the foundation’s economic business operations. It was founded a year ago and is intended to serve as an intermediary for entrepreneurs who would otherwise shy away from participation due to U.S. sanctions.

Theoretically, the construct could work like this: A company that wants to supply parts to Nord Stream 2 sells them to the climate foundation operation, which eventually passes it on. So officially there is no direct business relationship between the company and the pipeline.

The starting point of Nord Stream 2 in Leningrad oblast: Gazprom wants to export gas to Germany via the pipeline. (Source: imago images/Peter Kovalev/TASS)

The starting point of Nord Stream 2 in Leningrad Oblast: Gazprom wants to export gas to Germany via the pipeline. (Source: Peter Kovalev/TASS/imago images)

However, details are not known. Only that the company should have its headquarters in Hamburg. That’s what Sellering told "Deutschlandfunk" a few months ago tells. Furthermore, he does not want to answer any specific questions from t-online.

Not, how the enterprise created by the foundation is called and which legal form it has. Not who the Gazprom designated manager is. Not what tasks it has undertaken for Nord Stream 2. Not whether there are other subsidiaries the public hasn’t learned about. Even those who sit on the board of trustees of the state foundation are apparently too sensitive to disclose information about it.

It is anything but common for public institutions to refuse to provide such basic information.

The secretive consultations

But Sellering’s secrecy certainly follows the Schwesig government’s largely clandestine initiation of the foundation, about which few details are known. It is clear that there have been talks with Nord Stream 2, whose representatives have been regular guests in the state chancellery and ministries for years – otherwise the Gazprom project company would not have given 20 million euros in capital and held out the prospect of another 40 million euros. Otherwise the group would not have a say in the company that is founded.

But what was discussed and when between Schwesig, her ministers and the gas suppliers from Russia? And how far do the agreements go?

Just over a year after her meeting with Schroder in Berlin in April 2018, Schwesig is traveling to Russia again with German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier. The goal this time is an economic forum in St. Petersburg, which Putin is trying to establish as the Russian equivalent of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Naturally, the "St. Petersburg International Economic Forum" a showcase of important Kremlin representatives, business bosses and lobbyists. Schwesig calls for more German-Russian cooperation on climate protection.

Schwesig at the economic forum in St. Petersburg, 2019: Another delicate meeting off the record took place there. (Source: imago images/Donat Sorokin/TASS)

Schwesig at economic forum in St. Petersburg, 2019: There another delicate meeting took place off the record. (Source: Donat Sorokin/TASS/imago images)

The prime minister has a tightly scheduled program: She hurries from appointment to appointment, meets with governor and economy minister. Even moments of rest and snacks are recorded in the program, which t-online obtained from the Schwerin State Chancellery on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act. One meeting, however, it does not list. Also the later cabinet report does not mention it.

Schwesig meets "spontaneously Schroder

Once again it is a "personal exchange with Nord Stream 2 Board President Gerhard Schroder, which does not appear in the files and for which no minutes exist. The meeting was "spontaneous had been arranged "since both were in town at the same time", writes government spokesman Timm on inquiry of t-online. He does not give any information about the content of the conversation.

Schroder’s presence at Russia’s largest business fair cannot have come as a complete surprise to Schwesig, however: He has been a guest at the forum for years, and this year he even spoke at it again. This, in turn, raises the question of why a meeting that was apparently desired was not officially scheduled and had to find its way into the extremely tightly knit program correspondingly spontaneously.

Nord Stream 2 business breakfast in St. Petersburg: Energy Minister Pegel sits at the next table, while the current climate policy spokesman for the Left Party in the Bundestag, Klaus Ernst, takes a seat right next to Schroder. (Source: Roscongress/Nikolay Gernet)

Nord Stream 2 business breakfast in St. Petersburg: Energy Minister Pegel sits at the next table, while the current climate policy spokesman for the Left Party in the Bundestag, Klaus Ernst, takes a seat right next to Schroder. (Source: Roscongress/Nikolay Gernet)

In any case, a representative of the social democratic state government is on schedule to meet Gazprom on these days in St. Petersburg. Petersburg up close: In photos of the Nord Stream 2 business breakfast at the exhibition center – where gas supplies from Russia are presented as a contribution to European climate protection – the then Mecklenburg Energy Minister Christian Pegel is peering over from the second row, so to speak, to the host table.

This is at least remarkable, because it is he who will later introduce Schwesig to the Climate Foundation project on his own initiative, as the State Chancellery told the "Spiegel" magazine assures. Schroder is not involved in any case. This clarification is necessary because the magazine reports on rumors that the "Usedom Music Festival" is to be held in the summer of 2009 in August 2020 – again a year after the spontaneous meeting in St. Petersburg – had only been background music for consultations with him on the planned foundation.

But protocols for this third meeting do not exist either. And neither in the State Chancellery nor in the Ministry of Energy, whose project the foundation is supposed to be – it is "in charge" it is said from the house Schwesig -, is to the planning and establishment according to own data communication with other authorities, Ministries, foundation participants or Nord Stream 2 documented.

  • Putin’s threat of war:”A sitting duck for the Russian Air Force”
  • Russia crisis:The dangerous silence of Olaf Scholz
  • Red-red in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania:The Stasi problem

In September 2020, however, it will become official: Nord Stream 2 Managing Director Matthias Warnig will publicly visit the Minister President in Schwerin. From then on, at the latest, the direction of travel for the pipeline construction is clear: "We agree with Nord Stream that the project should be brought to a successful conclusion", says Schwesig. The state government is not intimidated by threats of sanctions. A few months later, the climate foundation – after an urgent motion by the state parliament in a special session passed without a dissenting vote.

According to Erwin Sellering, the associated business operation has now fulfilled its task: "The pipeline is as good as finished, it is ready to deliver." Everything else remains Schwesig’s secret for now.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: