Germany Tells US to ‘Mind Its Own Business’ as Congress Votes in Sanctions on Nord Stream Companies
With friends like these...
Editor’s note: I keep hearing how Russia and China are not allies because they aren’t as close and don’t have a formal treaty like the US and its European NATO “allies”. Well at least Russia and China don’t sanction each other’s economies. In fact it is the US and Germany which are not allies, that’s because the Empire does not have allies, only clients. The difference between the two being precisely that allies are entitled to their own separate interests where client states are not.
Germany on Thursday (12 December) warned Washington to mind its own business after US lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would sanction contractors working on a Russian pipeline to Germany. The EU also opposed sanctions against ‘companies doing legitimate business’.
“European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the US,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter.
“We reject external interference,” he said.
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 €9.5 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline will run under the Baltic Sea and is set to double shipments of Russian natural gas to Germany.
EU OPPOSES SANCTIONS
The EU joined in criticising proposed US action.
EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said Brussels “opposes the imposition of sanctions against any EU companies conducting legitimate business”.
“The (European) Commission objective has always been to ensure that Nord Stream operates in a very transparent and in a non-discriminatory way with the appropriate degree of oversight,” he said.
Under efforts to halt the construction of the $10.5-billion (€9.6-billion) Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, US lawmakers have imposed sanctions targeted primarily at companies providing pipelaying services to the project. The provisions were adopted on Wednesday as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which is an annual Department of Defense policy bill aimed at covering measures unrelated to defense.
The legislation gives the Trump administration 60 days to identify those companies and individuals providing such services, and allows for the revocation of US visas and the blocking of property of these individuals. It also gives 30 days to those targeted by the sanctions to wind down their operations.
After approval by the House, the US Senate will now have to vote on the bill, which will then go to US President Donald Trump for signing.
According to the US State Department the requested report could be delivered to Congress in less than a week, allowing sanctions to take hold in a compressed time frame. “We’re going to move quickly,” an official said Wednesday.
Some 627 companies are involved in building Nord Stream 2 — among them only two pipelaying specialist firms — Allseas Group from Switzerland and Italy’s Saipem. Allseas has deployed the world’s largest pipelaying vessel, the Pioneering Spirit, to complete the tube’s final offshore stretch.
On collision course
The German government has long prepared for sanctions and says it “rejects extraterritorial sanctions that affect German and European businesses.”
Matthias Schepp, managing director of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce, has been terser in its rebuttal, rejecting Washington’s claim of a Russian stranglehold on the European gas market as a “fallacious argument.”
“A sober look at the facts clearly shows that we are less dependent on Russian gas than the Russians are dependent on hard currency from its gas exports to Europe,” he said in a statement Thursday, adding that America would only seek to sell its more expensive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Europe.
Schepp called on the government in Berlin to prepare countermeasures against Washington, which should also include imposing European sanctions.
The German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV), a trade and commerce body, spoke in a similar vein, saying US interference in the pipeline project should be regarded as “more than an unfriendly act.”
“America wants to sell its liquefied gas in Europe, for which Germany is building terminals. Should we arrive at the conclusion that US sanctions are intended to push competitors out of the European market, our enthusiasm for bilateral projects with the US will significantly cool,” OAOEV said in a statement Thursday.
Source: Deutsche Welle