Floating excavators prepare an underwater trench for the North Stream 2 pipeline close to Lubmin, Germany, May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt
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For decades, the Friendship pipeline has delivered oil from Russia to Europe, heating German homes even in the darkest days of the Cold War. But a new pipeline that will carry gas direct from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany is doing rather less for Friendship, driving a wedge between Germany and its allies and giving Chancellor Angela Merkel a headache.For U.S. President Donald Trump, Nord Stream 2 is a "horrific" pipeline that will increase Germany's dependence on Russian energy. With the fraying of the trans-Atlantic alliance and an assertive Russia and China, she has acknowledged that Germany must take more of a political leadership role in Europe.Another pipeline already links Russia and Germany under the Baltic.Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partners, the leading voices in Germany calling for a conciliatory approach towards Russia, are also in favor.According to Margarita Assenova, an analyst at the Centre for European Policy Analysis who is critical of Nord Stream 2, Russia can double gas exports to Europe via existing Ukrainian pipelines without building the new conduit.Germany is bound to Russia by decades of cooperation on energy supply, but it has to offer something to its western allies too, officials say.
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