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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

German firms urge response to US sanctions on Nord Stream 2: report

23.07.2020 15:35
German firms have called for retaliatory measures over any new US sanctions on the disputed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea, a Polish website has reported.
Cranes load pipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline onto a ship at the German port of Mukran in December.
Cranes load pipes for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline onto a ship at the German port of Mukran in December.Stefan Sauer/dpa-Zentralbild/PAP

The energetyka24.com website quoted a German business leader as saying that an organisation in his country was working on proposals for retaliatory steps in response to a threat of further US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project.

“Until now, we would warn against any retaliation at the United States because we didn't want to find ourselves locked in a spiral of sanctions,” said Michael Harms, head of the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV), as quoted by the Polish website.

“But now we look at this a bit differently,” he added, according to energetyka24.com.

Harms said in a media interview that planned new US sanctions could block the bank accounts of companies involved in the controversial project and impose restrictions on the banks themselves, according to the Polish website.

In a body blow to the project, sanctions could affect banks financing the project, Harms said, according to energetyka24.com.

He argued in the interview that retaliatory measures could take the form of “counter-sanctions,” diplomatic steps and compensation for companies targeted by US sanctions, energetyka24.com said.

The US House of Representatives this week passed an amendment that would impose new sanctions on companies helping Russia complete the controversial pipeline to Germany, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) must be approved by the Senate and signed by the president before the new sanctions become law.

A number of German politicians have slammed a previous push for US sanctions on Nord Stream 2, according to a report last month.

In early June, a group of US senators introduced a bill to expand sanctions on the controversial energy project opposed by Washington and Warsaw.

'New hybrid weapon' against EU, NATO: Polish PM

The Nord Stream 2 undersea gas link is an energy project strongly criticised by Poland and the United States amid concerns that the pipeline will make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.

Once up and running, the 1,200-kilometre link is expected to have the capacity to send around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

The US Senate in December approved a massive defence policy bill that included a measure to punish companies involved in work to build the pipeline.

US President Donald Trump was cited as saying last June that Nord Stream 2 "really makes Germany a hostage of Russia if things ever happen that were bad."

He added, as quoted by the Reuters news agency at the time: “We’re protecting Germany from Russia and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars from Germany."

US Vice President Mike Pence warned earlier last year that America “cannot ensure the defence of the West” if its allies grow dependent on Moscow as a result of projects such as Nord Stream 2.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called Nord Stream 2 “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the EU and NATO.

(gs)

Source: energetyka24.comrferl.org