WashingtonвЂ™s new measures could hit German and European companies and banks, the German Ministry of Economy believes.
The German government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, is considering a coordinated European Union response in the event that US President Donald Trump imposes additional sanctions against participants in the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. On Thursday, June 25, Bloomberg reported, citing two German officials familiar with the situation.
The agency studied an internal document from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, which states that WashingtonвЂ™s new measures could hit German and European companies, banks, as well as government organizations.
According to German officials, direct intervention by the United States in EU energy interests could lead to a collective response from EU countries.
Berlin fears a new decline in relations
German Minister of Economics Peter Altmayer two weeks ago questioned the legitimacy of WashingtonвЂ™s possible new measures, pointing out that their introduction could lead to a new decline in transatlantic relations.
вЂњThe German government has long believed that sanctions with extraterritorial consequences are contrary to international law and do not contribute to the development of international cooperation," Altmeier told reporters in Berlin on June 12.
вЂњThis position has not changed,вЂќ he added.
US Extraterritorial Sanctions
Prior to this, the Executive Director of the Eastern Committee of German Economy Michael Harms and the Chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Economics and Energy, Klaus Ernst of the faction of the post-communist Left Party, at a joint press conference in Berlin called for opposition to the White House.
According to Harms, extraterritorial sanctions by the United States may include firms from 12 European countries: вЂњPlanned bans on entering the United States, arrests of accounts, refusal to place orders.вЂќ
Moreover, he added, such penalties will affect the companies involved in the construction of connecting pipelines in the Czech Republic and Germany.
Klaus Ernst, in turn, commented on the situation as follows: вЂњThe goal of the United States, from our point of view, is not to reduce dependence on Russia but to sell its gas in Europe, and this will be easier if Russia will receive less gas. вЂњ
The gas pipeline is suspended
The construction of Nord Stream 2 is currently suspended due to U.S. sanctions against European contractors that entered into force in December 2019.
They provide for a ban on entering the United States for representatives of these companies and the freezing of any assets in the country.
Nord Stream-2 should be laid along the bottom of the Baltic Sea in parallel with the already existing Nord Stream. Countries through the territorial waters of which a new gas pipeline passes (Finland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark) have allowed pipe laying.
The USA and a number of European states oppose the construction of a gas pipeline. In their opinion, it will strengthen EuropeвЂ™s dependence on Russian gas supplies.