On December 17th, the US Senate approved sanctions on companies and governments working on the Germany-Russia Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Companies providing services such as pipe-laying are being targeted, as Washington tries to halt the completion of the $10.5 billion (€9.6 billion) pipeline, which would transport gas under the Baltic Sea.
The sanctions are expected to be signed into law by US President Donald Trump when he signs the defense spending bill. The bill also includes sanctions targeting companies and governments involved in the Turk Stream project.
The Trump administration would then have 60 days to identify companies and individuals providing services on the pipeline. The sanctions would revoke US visas and block the property of these individuals. Those targeted by the sanctions would then have 30 days to wind down their operations.
In response, Germany has criticized Washington’s actions, saying that it is meddling into European energy policy.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, criticized the US Senate’s vote.
“We think this is unacceptable, because it is ultimately a move to influence autonomous decisions that are made in Europe.”
“European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the US,” Maas tweeted.
Die europäische Energiepolitik wird in Europa entschieden, nicht in den USA. Eingriffe von außen und Sanktionen mit extraterritorialer Wirkung lehnen wir grundsätzlich ab. https://t.co/vx9teDdh6l
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) December 12, 2019
The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce said that the pipeline is essential for European energy security and called for retaliatory sanctions on the US.
German Bundestag member Andreas Nick told DW that sanctions over Nord Stream 2 would unite Germany behind the project.
“It’s an issue of national sovereignty, and it is potentially a liability for trans-Atlantic relations,” said Nick.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also criticized the US move, but said Germany would not impose any counter sanctions on the US.
“I see no other option but to talk [to the US and make it clear that] we do not approve of this practice of extraterritorial sanctions,” she said.
The Premier of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania, Manuela Schwesig, said that Germany and Europe needed a secure energy supply. The Baltic Sea pipeline is set to enter German territory at the coastal city of Greifswald in the northern German state.
“[The Americans] are attempting to bring American gas, obtained by fracking, to the market,” she added.
The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the sanctions would not stop Nord Stream 2 from being finished.
“We expect that this project would be completed,” he said.
He accused the US of “violating international law” and trying to “expand its artificial dominance of the European market”.
“Moscow does not like such measures, and neither do other European capitals such as Berlin and Paris,” he said.
The sanction regime that the US attempts to impose on the rest of the world is apparently starting to show cracks and is proving rather ineffective in many of its implementations.
MORE ON THE TOPIC: