FLASHBACK: Kerry, Biden Warned Russian Pipeline to Germany Would Have 'Adverse Impact,' 'Fundamentally Bad Deal for Europe'

July 11, 2018

Former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Joe Biden both warned about the negatives of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in 2016, respectively saying it would "have an adverse impact" and was a "fundamentally bad deal for Europe."

The Nord Stream 2 is a 800-mile pipeline project which would transport natural gas from eastern Russia to northern Germany via the Baltic Sea. It would run parallel to the existing Nord Stream pipeline. Along with Washington, Eastern European countries formerly under the Soviet Union's shadow oppose it because they say it would increase European reliance on Russia and threaten their national security.

President Donald Trump attacked Germany over the pipeline during remarks at a bilateral NATO breakfast on Wednesday in Belgium, saying the country was "totally controlled" by the Russians because of how much natural gas it purchases from them.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they were getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that's appropriate, because I think it's not, and I think it's a very bad thing for NATO," Trump said.

Kerry blasted Trump for his remarks about Germany and his rhetoric against NATO countries for not meeting defense spending obligations, tweeting out a statement calling his comments "disgraceful," "destructive," and a threat to hard-won alliances.

Kerry shared Trump's concerns about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline while serving in the Obama administration. Speaking in Washington on May 4, 2016, alongside European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, he talked about energy security and its relationship to "geopolitical stability and global security."

"We’re also going to discuss one other specific issue of deep concern to me and to everybody here, and I think that’s the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," Kerry said. "This project has provoked a very heated debate on both sides of the Atlantic, and we are convinced would absolutely have an adverse impact on Ukraine, on Slovakia, and Eastern Europe. And we cannot lose sight of that."

The State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources tweeted out a clip of Kerry's remarks about Nord Stream 2 at the time.

While speaking at a press conference in Sweden on August 25, 2016, Biden said "no country" should be able to use energy as a weapon or as a method of coercion against other nations.

"Speaking for ourselves, speaking for the United States, Nord Stream 2 pipeline, we think, is a fundamentally bad deal for Europe," he said. "From our perspective, it looks like a fairly bad deal ... Europe needs diverse sources of gas, not, in our view, a new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and to lock in greater reliance on Russia at this moment ... I know will fundamentally destabilize Ukraine."

In Latvia a day earlier, Biden said Russian gas should be part of the European market but added that market needed to be competitive, saying Europe didn't need "new pipelines that lock in greater reliance on Russia."

"For the first time, gas from the United States is being used here in Europe," he said. "And every country in Europe can now buy that American resource. That’s critical, because Europe needs diverse sources of gas, not new pipelines that lock in greater reliance on Russia. Russian gas can and should be part of the European market, but that market needs to be open and competitive."