Sanctions against the Nord Stream - 2 gas pipeline project, which was approved by the US Senate Committee on International Affairs, will have the opposite effect and will have a negative impact on Washington’s relations with its European allies, especially with Germany. This opinion was made by political scientist Eugene Rumer, whose article published the publication Politico.
Rumer notes that the introduction of restrictive measures has become the main instrument of American foreign policy. Washington accepts them for any reason, for example, against Iran for alleged non-compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal, from which the United States previously unilaterally. The White House is already preparing to impose sanctions against Russia if it intervenes in the 2020 presidential election.
At the same time, Rumer criticizes Nord Stream 2, noting that Moscow allegedly uses Gazprom as an instrument of foreign policy. However, a political analyst writes, in the event that various companies leave the project, which will be frightened by restriction, other energy concerns will take their place.
"The German government has rejected the threat of unilateral extraterritorial sanctions that the Trump administration can use against companies from Germany participating in the project," recalls Rumer.
The political analyst stressed that “Nord Stream - 2” is “not so bad”, as some US senators believe.
“Listed as the goal of the proposed sanctions, protecting Europe from energy blackmail on the part of Russia is based on an outdated understanding of the energy markets. The times when Russia or the Soviet Union controlled the gas supply to Europe and were able to stop it by turning the valve are a thing of the past, ”Rumer writes.
According to the American expert, restrictive measures not only do not contribute to the fulfillment of the task, but also are a potential threat to the interests of the United States itself.
“First of all, they will become a serious insult for Germany - a key US ally in Europe and recently the favorite target of attacks from the current administration and personally Donald Trump. In addition to weakening ties with the allies, sanctions will lead to the further consolidation of our opponents, ”emphasizes Rumer.
According to a political scientist, “China is another large market for Russian gas, and the new package of American sanctions designed to restrict Russia's access to the crucial European market will only be an incentive for Moscow to establish closer ties with Beijing.”
“We need to keep our friends close, not push our opponents towards each other,” Rumer concludes.
As Konstantin Voronov, head of the regional problems and conflicts sector of the Primakov Institute of the World Economy and International Relations of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, noted in a conversation with RT, one should not worry about the impact of American sanctions on Nord Stream 2.
“Germany and other European countries will support this project, they don’t care what position Washington will take, because it is in their state interest to ensure energy stability,” the political scientist said.
Representatives of the American establishment are not for the first time opposing the introduction of restrictive measures against the "Nord Stream - 2". So, in July, Republican Senator Rand Paul sent a letter to the members of the international affairs committee, indicating, like Rumer, that the new package of sanctions would not have a serious impact on Russia. But, the senator noted, US relations with NATO allies and with third countries could suffer.
“I urge my colleagues to reconsider this approach. If we continue to hold the red lines and threaten our friends as well as our opponents, then we will have few friends - and we can only blame ourselves, ”the politician said.
- Session of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee
- © Aaron Bernstein
In his address, Paul stressed that companies from Western European countries that actively cooperate with the United States will be subject to the sanctions.
According to the senator, the laying of the underwater part of the pipeline is handled by a Swiss company operating in the United States (Allseas), as well as an Italian company headquartered in Houston (Texas).
Recall that the bill on sanctions against the participants of the Nord Stream - 2 was submitted to the Senate in May this year. In it, a group of senators from both parties proposed banning American banks from issuing loans and loans worth over $ 10 million to project participants, making payments in the zone of US jurisdiction and refusing to issue export licenses.
On July 31, members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs voted to adopt the bill. To enter into force, he must pass approval in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and then go to sign for Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Maria Zakharova, commenting on this document, called it a new round of Russophobia.
“This is another approach to the projectile of US lawmakers, they don’t already know what to undertake and what other dirty trick to come up with. It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that we are still talking about the discussion of the next round of Russophobic measures in the US Congress, ”she said at the briefing.
As noted by the deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics MPGU? Ph.D. in History Vladimir Shapovalov, the White House’s actions on Nord Stream 2 can unbalance the system of Western political and economic alliances, and also deal a serious blow to American-European relations.
“Nord Stream - 2” is a successful business project, which, if commercial structures participate in it, promises a serious economic profit. Rough US pressure on its European allies, including Germany, can lead to a serious complication of their relations, because in Europe they are dissatisfied with the actions of Americans who do not allow European business to develop, ”the expert said in a conversation with RT.
In addition, the cooling of relations can lead to serious consequences for Euro-Atlantic cooperation, indicates Shapovalov. According to the expert, today it seems impossible that European countries turn away from the United States.
“However, Washington’s actions of this kind, which violate the sovereignty of European states, multiply claims from European states and strengthen the desire of political and economic circles in Germany and in other countries to dissociate themselves from America and pursue an independent policy providing for the restoration of economic and political contacts with Russia and China and other states that have serious problems with the United States, ”the political analyst emphasized.
It's a question of time
The Nord Stream 2 project consists of two gas pipeline threads with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters. meters of gas per year, which are placed through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, bypassing transit countries.
- The construction of the "Nord Stream - 2"
- © nord-stream2.com
The highway with a length of more than 1.2 thousand km is planned to be commissioned by the end of 2019. The cost of the project is about € 9.5 billion. Apart from Gazprom, five Western European energy companies - Engie, Shell, OMV, Uniper and Wintershall are participating in its implementation. The share of financing of each of them is 10%.
The main obstacles to the implementation of the project are the amendments to the EU Gas Directive and the position of Denmark, adopted in April 2019, which has not yet agreed to a permit for further construction.
The amendments extend to offshore gas pipelines the requirements that apply to onshore pipelines. Among such measures are a ban on companies simultaneously producing gas and owning a gas pipeline, access of other concerns to 50% of the capacity of the pipeline, non-discriminatory tariffs and transparency.
The operator of the Nord Stream 2 AG gas pipeline is confident that these amendments were adopted precisely against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, in order to “create unfavorable and hindering project implementation conditions” and declared their readiness to challenge them in the European Court of Justice.
At the same time, the project investors are confident that it will be launched on time. Thus, the head of the Austrian OMV Concern, Rainer Seele, stated that the first gas transportation via the Nord Stream - 2 should begin before midnight on December 31, 2019. According to him, delays in the implementation of the project are not expected.
As Vladimir Shapovalov notes, Washington expects that ousting Russia from the European market can lead to the fact that it will become the No. 1 partner in the energy sector for countries and the European market.
“Now this is just a strategy, but serious profits are at stake, so the US will seek to establish control over the European market. If Washington reaches its goal, which is unrealistic at the present time, Europe will receive not only expensive gas, but also greater military-political and economic dependence on America, ”the expert explained.
If Americans put serious pressure on the EU, then one cannot be guaranteed that European politicians will retain their desire to protect national interests. There are examples when Europe fell under the influence of the White House, Shapovalov stresses.
“However, today European countries will not surrender to the Americans on the issue of the implementation of the Nord Stream 2.” Attempts by the United States to counteract this project will not be crowned with success, since the Russian gas pipeline is too important for the states of Europe, ”the expert concluded.