The lead candidate for Europe's conservative bloc in next month's EU elections has said he would try to stop the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if he becomes European Commission president, according to an interview published Tuesday.
"I am against the Nord Stream 2 project. It will increase the dependence of the EU on Russian gas and not decrease it. And we need more independence not dependence on Russian gas," Manfred Weber of the EPP told Polish newspaper Polska The Times.
"That's why, as the president of the Commission, I will use all legal instruments available... and check all the opportunities to stop NS2," the German said of the pipeline spearheaded by Russia's gas giant Gazprom.
"You know it's already a very advanced project. But I will try to do my best."
The controversial 11-billion-euro ($12-billion) new energy link between Russia and Germany is to run under the Baltic Sea and set to double Russian gas shipments to the EU's biggest economy.
This has sparked concerns about Western Europe's increasing dependence on Russian gas, as well as Moscow being able to increase pressure on Ukraine as Europe will be less reliant on the country for transiting supplies.
Ukraine, the United States and many countries in eastern and central Europe are opposed to the pipeline, which is set to be completed by the end of this year.
Crews have already completed more than two-thirds of the 1,230-kilometre (764 mile) steel-and-concrete pipeline through the maritime territories of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.