And Daniel Kawczynski has accused Germany of betraying the rest of Europe with a controversial energy deal struck with Moscow. With barely six months to go before the end of the transition period on December 31, there is little sign of breakthrough in talks aimed at thrashing out a wide-ranging free trade agreement between the UK and the EU.
However, Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said it was imperative the Prime Minister did not succumb to the siren calls of those advocating a delay beyond the end of the year – for reasons of national security, as well as economic ones.
Mr Kawczynski was speaking as a group of US senators confirmed they planned to introduce legislation expanding sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, which critics claim will boost Moscow’s influence in Berlin.
More broadly, recent months have seen Russia mount numerous military exercises in the Baltic, the Arctic and the Black Sea, irrespective of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Boris Johnson has been told Brexit must happen on time to enable to UK to counter Russia
Mr Kawczynski was highly critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel
He told Express.co.uk: “I have discussed the importance of this problem with Boris Johnson in the past and earlier this year, I pressed the Government to act.
“But ministers informed me that we can’t impose unilateral sanctions because, during the transition period, Britain is still bound to Brussels’ sanction regime.
“It is therefore more important than ever that the Prime Minister does not extend it.
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Donald Trump, Jens Stoltenberg and Boris Johnson at last year’s NATO summit
“We have a duty to our NATO allies, especially those on the front line in Eastern Europe, to take back control of our foreign policy, reinforce the American sanction regime, and make sure that Nord Stream 2 is never completed.
“The fate of more than one nation may depend on it.”
Mr Kawczynski said: “Now that we have finally left the European Union, it’s time for United Kingdom to step up and help to kill this project off once and for all.
“It is difficult to overstate the scale of the betrayal this pipeline represents. Germany is a NATO member, committed (on paper) to the defence of the continent against potential Russian meddling and influence.
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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
The Nord stream 3 pipeline plan is highly controversial
“Yet not only does Berlin consistently fail to commit anything like the two per cent of GDP to defence that is expected of NATO members, but it is now actively putting hard currency in the hands of the very rogue powers the alliance exists to contain.
“Every euro Germany spends importing Russian gas is money that can be spent on building a diversified energy and oil sector in Europe.
“Worse, binding Germany’s industrial power into Vladimir Putin’s energy network leaves the EU’s pre-eminent Member State increasingly exposed to Russian influence – and dependent on Russian goodwill.
“This is extraordinary conduct by a supposedly allied nation.
The pipeline would run through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany
“It is little wonder that Donald Trump took Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, to task at a 2018 summit for Germany’s negligent approach to its treaty obligations.
“The US President has described Germany as ‘prisoner of Russia’.”
Stressing the need for Europe needed to reduce its “strategic exposure” to Russia, Mr Kawcyznski said: “That means containing, not expanding, use of Russian oil and gas.”
The Polish-born MP, who is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland, added: “This can be done, and Poland is leading the way. Rather than fighting for scraps from Putin’s table, Warsaw is investing in alternative supplies.
The scheme is the result of an agreement between Russia and Germany
“The Polish Government have built a huge liquified gas terminal near Szczecin and are orienting their entire energy policy towards imports from Norway and the United States – NATO allies both.”
Given Russian Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) was usually cheaper than American, such a move would come at an economic cost, Mr Kawczynski said, but it was one which Warsaw had concluded was worth paying.
He added: “By contrast, Angela Merkel has worked hard to protect Nord Stream 2 from EU sanctions after Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and previously shuttered Germany’s perfectly functional nuclear power stations in favour of increased reliance on imported gas.
“Weighed against its paltry military spending, Germany’s net contribution to European security may well be negative.”