Germany and Austria are unhappy with the new US sanctions against Russia. The measures affect pipeline project “Nord Stream-2”, for which Berlin and Vienna have identified them as “illegal threat to the energy security of the European Union (EU),” writes Financial Times.
The US Senate, meanwhile, voted overwhelmingly bill, which imposes new sanctions against Russia and Iran. The document must be voted on by the House of Representatives and signed by President Donald Trump.
In a joint statement Berlin and Vienna said it foreshadows a “new and very negative quality in European-American relations” as threatens to disrupt the delicate transatlantic consensus on sanctions against Russia, orchestrated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. So far these measures excluded pipelines as they relate to key German interests.
In the joint position also states that the situation will worsen and the conflict between Washington and Berlin, which occurred after the election of Donald Trump for president of the United States. Trump regularly attacked Berlin for trade surplus and criticized the policies of Germany in terms of global economic cooperation.
“The energy supply of Europe is a European issue, not American,” the statement German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.
Merkel is likely to be more cautious in their criticism of the US Senate as cautious in terms of “Nord Stream-2” because of the strong opposition of Poland and other Eastern European countries.
Sanctions against Russia may affect European energy companies, including Shell, Engie and OMV, which finance the pipeline. Their shares fell in today’s session.
The actions of the US Senate underline the anger of Washington for any Russian cyber attacks during elections in the country of unlimited opportunities, said the newspaper. No measures are expected to meet opposition in the House of Representatives.
The measures codify existing sanctions law and gamble obstacles to the White House to ease – element probably included because the information that Trump may consider easing sanctions against Russia as part of a deal to strengthen cooperation.
The Kremlin hopes were that Trump will take a bolder stance on Russia than his predecessor, Barack Obama. The US president, however, is absorbed by the FBI’s investigation, which checks whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by imposing termination of another investigation.
“Nord Stream-2” is subject to regulatory control, as it will increase the transit of Russian gas to Europe and will also deprive transit Ukraine. Gabriel and Kern commented however that the US desire to expand exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe and see the pipeline as a competitor.
“The goal is to provide jobs in the oil and gas industry in the United States,” the two in a statement.
After the first US delivery of liquefied natural gas arrived in Poland last week, the administration Trump said that exports “supports American jobs, reduces energy prices for our partners abroad and contributes to the goals of energy security of Europe, which in turn receives reliable supplier. ”
Russian President Vladimir Putin now downplays sanctions. According to him, the new bill is a sign of the continuing political struggle in the US.