German EU candidate speaks out against Russia gas pipeline

European People's Party candidate Manfred Weber delivers a speech at Zappio Congress Hall in Athens on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Weber is in Greece for the official launch of his campaign for the May 23-26 European Parliament elections. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

BERLIN (AP) -- The center-right candidate to head the European Union's executive branch is speaking out against a new German-Russian gas pipeline, drawing mixed reactions in his native Germany.

Manfred Weber was quoted this week as telling a Polish newspaper that, as head of the European Commission, he would use all available rules to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It is supported by the German government but opposed by some European countries and the U.S., which argue it could increase Europe's energy dependence on Russia.

Weber's stance has drawn both rejection and support from members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Union bloc, which he represents, and criticism from its center-left partners in the German government.

Weber told ZDF television Friday his stance isn't new and he has to respect positions other than Germany's.