Berlin (dpa) - The German economy has urgently warned of possible US sanctions because of the planned Baltic Sea gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 from Russia to Germany.
"The current US sanctions proposals would primarily harm companies from friendly European countries such as Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland and make European energy policy a plaything in the USA," said Wolfgang Büchele, chairman of the East Committee of the United States German economy.
This "inevitable split" between the US and the EU would be very damaging for both sides. "We therefore continue to insist that prevail in the US, the votes that warn against sanctioning European companies and promote close transatlantic cooperation," said Büchele the German Press Agency.
The left-wing economic politician Klaus Ernst said on Wednesday: "It is unbearable how the US meddle in European affairs. They threaten European companies just because they want to sell their own LPG in Europe. The measure is full. "Europe must change its gait towards the United States. Countermeasures are necessary - for example, a special tax for the import of the extracted LNG gas from the USA must be considered.
The bill for US sanctions over Nord Stream 2 had taken an important hurdle. The Foreign Affairs Committee in the US Senate approved the bipartisan draft. In a next step, the Senate and then the House of Representatives would have to vote on the bill. If both chambers agree in Congress, US President Donald Trump would still have to sign the law for it to come into force.
"European energy issues are and remain a matter for Europeans," said Büchele. "In Europe we need all the options - new pipeline capacities such as Nord Stream 2, gas transit through Ukraine and the possibility of importing LNG - for the tasks that climate change and Germany's plans to phase out coal and nuclear energy pose to solve."
Thanks to German mediation, a new round of negotiations between the EU, Russia and Ukraine for a new transit agreement has been scheduled for September. "New sanctions decisions by the US side would place a heavy burden on these ongoing talks." The German government has long been campaigning for a continuation of "substantial" gas transit through Ukraine.