Berlin – Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is said to have offered the then US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a secret letter in August to promote the import of liquid natural gas from the USA with up to one billion euros if the US government in return waives sanctions against the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2.
This emerges from documents that Deutsche Umwelthilfe made public on Tuesday.
Accordingly, the SPD politician is said to have written a personal letter to his US colleague on August 7, 2020 and made him the offer in an attached paper.
DUH Federal Managing Director Sascha Müller-Kränner spoke of a “scandal” and a “dirty deal at the expense of third parties”.
From the letter in English, which is available to the German Press Agency, it emerges that the Federal Government, in cooperation with the United States, wanted to promote the construction of liquid gas terminals in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel.
At the same time, there is great concern in Berlin about the threatened US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 natural gas project, it is said several times in the attached paper.
Germany expects the USA to enable the unhindered construction and operation of Nord Stream II and also to withdraw the sanction laws that have already been passed, it is said.
For this, the federal government is ready to import liquid gas from the USA, so the offer said.
“Zeit” reported on some of the contents of the letter last year.
The Federal Ministry of Finance did not initially comment on request. But a statement is still being prepared, said a spokesman.
In the meantime, there was sharp criticism from the Greens.
“It is completely unacceptable that Olaf Scholz is trying to gild US fracking gas in Germany with tax money and at the same time wanting to buy Nord Stream 2 free from US sanctions,” wrote the budgetary spokesman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Sven-Christian Kindler, in a statement.
Deutsche Umwelthilfe has been fighting against both the construction of liquefied gas terminals and the completion of Nord Stream 2 for a long time.
The Baltic Sea pipeline plans to transport 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany.
The USA and several EU countries are against the almost completed billion-dollar project because they fear that Europe will become too dependent on Russian gas.