Germany urges European Union countermeasures against U.S. over Russian Federation sanctions

Germany's economics minister on July 31 urged the European Union to fight back against new sanctions by the United States that could penalize Western companies doing business with Russian Federation.

Gabriel recalled that US President Donald Trump "has not yet made a decision on whether or not tougher sanctions will be imposed on Russian Federation".

At the heart of the dispute is Nord Stream 2, a €9.5 billion pipeline project led by Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom, which from 2019 is meant to double the volume of Russian gas pumped under the Baltic Sea directly to Germany.

Gabriel also stressed that the goal of the sanctions is to end the Ukrainian crisis and exert political pressure, something that he said could be implemented if "we act together and cohesively".

Brigitte Zypries said: "We consider this as being against worldwide law, plain and simple".

"The threat from the United States to also punish European companies by so-called extra-territorial sanctions is not acceptable", said German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries, according to Reuters.

Speaking to local media, the minister assured that her government does not want a commercial war, but urged the European Commission (EC) to consider and analyze possible measures in response. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.

Zypries said Berlin had repeatedly asked Washington not to include the provisions affecting European companies in a broader bill targeting Russian Federation with sanctions over its alleged interference in the USA presidential election, aggression in Ukraine, and other matters.

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"Unfortunately, that is exactly what they are doing".

Zypries added that the European Union should consider countermeasures in retaliation.

Several European nations, but particularly Germany, have been concerned with the wording of the latest U.S. sanctions, which intend to target foreign investment in Russia's energy industry.

"Perhaps for the first time in post-Soviet history, the EU expressed dissatisfaction regarding Washington's restrictive measures against Russian Federation after it became clear that the sanctions would be slapped and that they would seriously affect European companies and the EU economy".

Because the new sanctions are coupled with provisions encouraging European countries to consider purchasing liquefied natural gas from the United States rather than continuing to rely on Russia, German leaders say it appears aimed at promoting the United States as much as punishing Russia.

Volker Treier, head of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce's global committee, said last week, "One is left with the sense that the United States is looking to its own economic interests".

While the Pentagon may be already contemplating its next steps in the escalating conflict with Russian Federation, which as the WSJ reported will likely involve supplying Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry - a red line for the Kremlin not even the Obama administration dared to cross - there is minor matter of what to do with a suddenly furious Europe, which as we discussed previously, has vowed it would retaliate promptly after Trump signed the anti-Russia legislation into law, due to allegations it was just a veiled attempt at favoritism for US-based energy companies.


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