Berlin — A new subsidiary set up to operate the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline has run into difficulty regarding the staffing of its supervisory board.
The German Foreign Office blocked former diplomat Dieter Walter Haller from becoming chairman of the board, a spokesperson said on Friday.
"An internal review has shown that the assumption of this role must be prohibited because it would impair official interests," ministry official Christopher Burger explained.
According to Burger, Haller had notified the Foreign Office of his intention to take up work as a retired civil servant in accordance with section 105 of the Federal Civil Servants Act.
The new, Germany-based subsidiary, named Gas for Europe GmbH, was unveiled on Wednesday. It will become the owner and operator of the German part of the pipeline in order to meet a requirement for certification set by the Federal Network Agency.
Nord Stream 2 is supposed to bring 55 billion cubic metres of gas annually from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine. Construction was completed weeks ago, but is not yet in operation.
The project is controversial. The US government criticizes it as making Europe too dependent on Russia for its energy supply. The financially weak Ukraine is urgently dependent on income from fees for gas transit and now fears heavy losses.
On the Gas for Europe website, Haller was initially still listed as chairman of its supervisory board.
It said he had previously held various leading positions in the Foreign Office and the Federal Chancellery. Among other things, he had served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia and South Africa and was managing director of a consulting firm.
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