Germany's Weber will block construction of Nord Stream 2 if chosen as EU chief executive - paper

Member of the CSU party and the European People's Party (EPP) candidate for the European election Manfred Weber attends a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium April 3, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

WARSAW (Reuters) - EU candidate Manfred Weber will try to block the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline if he becomes the next President of the European Commission, the German told Polska Times in an interview published on Tuesday.

“I am against this project. It’s not in the interest of the European Union,” he said. “As the head of the European Commission, I will use all available laws to block Nord Stream 2,” the German centre-right European People’s Party candidate told the paper.

His position goes against that of the German government, which has supported the construction of the pipeline project spearheaded by Russia’s state energy firm Gazprom, in part due to the economic benefits it can bring.

“I’m not the German candidate for the head of the European Commission, but a candidate for the European People’s Party,” he said in response to a question on his differing position.

Opinion polls ahead of the May 23-26 European elections show the EPP would remain the biggest party in the European Parliament, giving Weber a solid chance of becoming Commission president, though he may face resistance from governments who do not want to be bound to choose from among party leaders.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Anna Koper, editing by Louise Heavens