The European Council condemns the possible expansion of U.S. sanctions against the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, stated European Council’s spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano, RIA Novosti reports.
The European Union strongly opposes third-country sanctions against European companies doing legitimate business. "The extraterritorial sanctions run counter to the international law. European policy is defined in Europe, not in third countries," Stano said.
He noted that if Washington applied a new package of restrictions, the EU would defend the interests of its companies using all available legal means.
On December 4, the U.S. Congress agreed on new sanctions against the construction of the pipeline.
They were included in the U.S. draft defense budget for 2021. Restrictions apply to companies providing insurance and certification services, as well as services for the modernization or installation of welding equipment on the vessels involved in the construction and also companies involved in upgrading or supplying of additional equipment.
Sanctions cannot be imposed on European state regulators or non-profit organizations. U.S. authorities should consult with representatives of the European Union when imposing restrictions.
The Kremlin said that they would defend Russia's interests in the implementation of the project. "We will do everything to protect our interests and to protect the interests of international commercial projects," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Earlier, it was reported that the authorities of the German federal state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where the Nord Stream 2 marine section ends, intend to circumvent possible restrictions introduced by the United States.
In particular, the Foundation for Climate Protection will be established, which should recognize the pipeline as "the most important element for environmental protection in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern." The Foundation will establish a commercial enterprise, which will act as a counterparty between German companies and the operator of Nord Stream-2. Thus, companies from Germany will not directly interact with the gas pipeline project and, accordingly, should not fall under U.S. sanctions.