EU prepares response to US sanctions against Nord Stream 2

The European Commission is preparing a response to Washington's sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as stated in the written response of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to the request of the MEP Emmanuel Morel. At the same time, European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer did not provide details on Friday, June 26, what exactly the EU's response would be, DW reports.

In late 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on companies involved in the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany along the Baltic Sea. Borrell's response to the MEP's June 25 request states that sanctions against actions authorized by EU law are unacceptable and violate international law. According to him, Brussels is engaged in a very frank dialogue with the US President’s administration and the U.S. Congress.

At the same time, the European Commission is "preparing to adopt a strengthened sanctions mechanism that will increase Europe's resilience towards extraterritorial sanctions imposed by third countries," the document stresses. According to Eric Mamer, details cannot be revealed yet.

Trump has been criticizing Nord Stream 2 for years, accusing Germany of allowing itself military protection from Russia, but at the same time providing Moscow with high revenues from gas exports. 

US President Donald Trump has signed a package of sanctions, which were previously approved by Congress and the Senate, against companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The bill came into effect. The punitive measures are included in the new US National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, which Trump signed on December 21.

The bill provides for restrictions against foreign companies providing vessels for the construction of Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines. The document says that the sanctions are imposed to ensure the energy security of Europe.

The US could have imposed sanctions on the participant companies even earlier: They were set out in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was passed in 2017, notes Gerhard Mangott, professor of political at the University of Innsbruck, an expert on Eastern Europe.

However, the Trump Administration chose not to do so, even though Germany’s position in the dispute with the US was inherently weak: “If Germany had tried to get revenge by punishing the Americans for the sanctions on Nord Stream 2, it would have found itself in a very vulnerable position with regard to restrictions against the German automotive industry,” said Mangott.

Recently, U.S. senators announced an expansion of sanctions aimed at stopping Nord Stream 2. 

  Nord Stream, Germany, USA, Russia