Tuesday, July 16, 2024
 
 

Nord Stream-2: Why not establish a Navalny tax?

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The nearly complete Nord Stream-2 pipeline may not be the perfect storm, but it does present Washington and Berlin with a list of terrible options. 

Much has been written about the near-fatal impact on the United States’ outreach to its European allies if the Biden Administration does what it believes is needed to block the project’s rush to completion, all in the name of reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas supplies, and the potential for “weaponization of energy” that this project hands Moscow. 

As the project nears completion, a few ideas have been tossed around that do not involve stopping it cold and the train wreck that ensues.   

What if guarantees could be worked out so that the countries currently receiving transit fees for Russian gas shipments would receive the same payments in the future, no matter how much gas is diverted through Nord Stream-2?

On that one, the real work is for the lawyers and diplomats.

Another idea that could be realized in conjunction with the first proposal would be to charge a special tax – we at New Europe are calling it the “Navalny Tax”, in reference to the political prisoner and leader of Russia’s anti-Putin opposition, Alexey Navalny – on all gas delivered via Nord Stream-2.  One objective would be to make Nord Stream-2 less competitive than older pipelines.  

The second but critical objective would be to support democratization projects in and around the former Soviet Union. A US-EU foundation with precisely that focus could be established and at least partially funded from the proceeds from the Navalny tax.  

Again, more work for the lawyers and diplomats.          

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