Navalny affair no grounds to cancel Nord Stream pipeline, new German CDU chief says

Navalny affair no grounds to cancel Nord Stream pipeline, new German CDU chief says

Germany should not drop support for the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia over the crackdown on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, as “feel-good moralizing” is not foreign policy, the man best placed to be the next German chancellor told Reuters.

“ Armin Laschet, the new leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, gestures as he delivers a speech to a CDU conference in Berlin, Germany, January 16, 2021. Odd Andersen/ REUTERS “

Pointing to U.S. purchases of crude oil from Russia, Armin Laschet described himself as a political realist — or “Realpolitiker” — and said: “We have to take the world as it is in order to make it better.”

Laschet, who last month won an election to the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said both values and interests were important in diplomacy.

“But feel-good moralizing and domestic slogans are not foreign policy,” Laschet, who is premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said in an interview that focused on understanding his little-known views on international affairs.

Laschet’s election to the CDU chair makes him the frontrunner to take over as chancellor from Merkel, who after 15 years in office has said she will not seek a fifth term following September elections.

Asked directly whether Germany should change course and renounce the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, Laschet replied:

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