Germany on Friday accused Washington of hurting European power companies through its new sanctions against Russia that target the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe. The new measures, approved by the US Senate on Thursday, include a threat to penalise companies that provide “goods, services, technology, information or support” for the construction of Russian energy export pipelines.The US bill directly spells out its opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while explicitly stressing that “the US government should prioritise the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy”.
Berlin lashed out at the impact of the sanctions on European companies involved in the construction of the pipeline which would pump Russian gas under the Baltic Sea directly to Germany. “It is strange that in the sanctioning of Russia’s behaviour, with regards to the US elections for instance, the European economy should become a target of American sanctions,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert. He added that Merkel shared the concerns raised by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, who charged in a joint statement Thursday that the measure brings a “completely new and entirely negative quality to European-US relations”. They also accused Washington of using the sanctions to squeeze Russian gas supplies out of Europe in favour of US energy exports.Separately, France’s foreign ministry called on Washington to respect the need for coordination with its European allies before deciding new sanctions.