Germany irked by Wood’s energy critique

Comments by US Ambassador to Sweden Michael Wood about a Baltic Sea pipeline meant to transport Russian gas have prompted the German government to launch a formal complaint.

Germany irked by Wood's energy critique

The business daily Handelsblatt reported in its Friday edition that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent a deputy to the US Embassy in Berlin to express the government’s irritation over what it sees as American interference in the controversial energy project.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Stockholm declined to comment to The Local on the matter.

Ambassador Wood recently attacked the Nord Stream pipeline in an opinion piece published on The Local: “Nord Stream bypasses the Baltic States and Poland, potential consumers, and represents a special arrangement between Germany and Russia. The EU should be speaking with a single voice to counteract the power of Russia’s energy weapon.”

The piece first appeared in the Svenska Dagblaget (SvD) newspaper.

According to Handelsblatt, the Foreign Ministry made clear to the Americans that Wood’s comments urging Stockholm to put pressure on Berlin were considered a highly unusual interference in German business.

Pamela Preusche, a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Minstry, would not confirm that Berlin had lodged an official protest with the US Embassy. “I won’t comment about that,” she told The Local Germany. “But I can say that we are in close contact with our American partners regarding a number of issues including energy topics.”

The Nord Stream project, which was brokered by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder just before he left office, will run along the Baltic Sea floor within the Finnish and Swedish economic zones.