Germany has hit back at the US for new American sanctions on Russia that target Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday he hopes US President Donald Trump will finally opt not to sign the bill on further anti-Russian sanctions in its current edition.
The new US sanctions aim “to squeeze Russian gas out of the European market to give room to American gas.” “We think it to be an absolutely improper approach,” the German Foreign Minister said castigating Washington.
The Nord Stream project deepens Europe’s reliance on energy supplies from neighbouring Russia.
“We are glad that the American president has not yet made up his mind what to do with that. He has a possibility to discuss these sanctions with us, to take into account European interests,” DPA quoted him as saying during a visit in Belgium.
“I am in a very close contact with my US counterpart,” he said, adding that the US must not act to the detriment of Europe’s interests.
In a joint statement, Berlin and Vienna said last week that the new US sanctions usher in a “a new and very negative quality in European American relations”.
The US Senate had voted almost unanimously on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Russia.
The European Union has also threatened to retaliate against new US sanctions on Russia, saying they would harm the bloc’s energy security by targeting projects including a planned new pipeline to bring Russian natural gas to northern Europe.
A European Commission spokesman in Brussels said the bloc would be following the sanctions process closely.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Gabriel has said Washington is promoting its own export interests in the guise of anti-Russian sanctions.
“Our stance remains that we will not accept any extraterritorial use whatsoever of these US sanctions against European companies. President Trump knows that, and so do the State Department and the US Administration. Sanctions policies are neither a suitable nor an appropriate instrument for promoting national export interests and the domestic energy sector,” Gabriel said last week.
The planned $10 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany would make transporting gas about 40 percent cheaper than through land-based pipes via Ukraine.
The 1,220 kilometer (758-mile) link would double the capacity of an existing route to Europe’s biggest economy.