The European Union today criticized US sanctions against companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“In principle, the EU is opposed to sanctions on European companies engaged in legitimate activities,” a Union spokesman said.
But the German government has also today criticized US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, calling them “interference in our internal affairs”.
“The Government rejects these sanctions which it has no jurisdiction to impose. They affect German and European companies and interfere in our internal affairs,” said Ulrike Demmer, a spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Reaction from Moscow
The United States is preventing other countries from developing their economies by imposing sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova said today, commenting on US President Donald Trump’s ratification of the sanctions against Stream 2 by law.
“A country with $ 22 trillion in debt is preventing countries with healthy debt-free growth from developing their real economy!” Zakharova commented on her Facebook page, criticizing “American ideology that does not stand up to global competitiveness”.
“Soon they will ask us to stop breathing,” she added.
US President Donald Trump has signed and thus made state law a draft law that provides for penalties for all those involved in the Nord Stream 2 submarine project, which aims to increase the amount of Russian gas shipped directly to Germany.
Moscow and Berlin have already strongly condemned the sanctions as they made their way to Congress, with Russian President Vladimir Putin warning of retaliation.
Under the pipeline law, Nord Stream 2 – a huge energy project that will carry Russian gas to the German market through the Baltic Sea – is a “tool of coercion and political leverage” that could weaken US ties with Russia, Germany and Europe.
The first consequence of these sanctions: the Swiss company Allseas Group, which owns the world’s largest underwater pipeline and which has been chartered by the Russian company Gazprom for offshore pipeline construction, has announced that it is suspending its Nord Stream 2 operations.
Allseas notes that it expects “regulatory, technical and environmental clarifications from the competent US authorities”.
The Nord Stream 2 submarine, whose construction is almost completed, passes under the Baltic bypassing mainly Ukraine and aims to increase Russian gas supplies to western Europe via Germany, which benefits the project more.
About 18% of the EU’s annual gas consumption comes from Russia via Ukraine.
The project is an investment of about ten billion euros co-financed halfway by Gazprom and five European companies (ÖMV, Wintershall Dea, Engie, Uniper and Shell). US sanctions have prompted strong reactions in Europe and complaints about Washington’s intervention in shaping a European energy strategy.