17 Jul 2020, 13:31
Benjamin Wehrmann

German industry warns Nord Stream 2 sanctions by US mean 'serious stress' for transatlantic partnership

Clean Energy Wire / Reuters

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has warned that the sanctions against companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project, as threatened by the US government, amount to "serious stress" for the transatlantic partnership. Earlier this week the US urged companies to "get out now" of the Russian-German gas pipeline project "or risk the consequences." The BDI's Joachim Lang said the threatened sanctions create major legal uncertainty and investment risks for about 120 companies from 12 countries that are involved in the project, and that European customers could face rising gas prices as a consequence. The industry lobby group argued that the sanctions violate international law and said it expects the EU and the affected states to show a "clear diplomatic reaction" to the threats from Washington. "It is important to defend the EU's legal sovereignty and strategic economic interests," Lang said.
Germany's foreign minister Heiko Maas said the US would disregard European sovereignty in energy policy, arguing that Europe "can decide for itself where it gets its energy from," news agency Reuters reported. He said "we clearly reject" the extraterritorial sanctions. Oliver Hermes, head of the parliamentary committee for Eastern Europe, said the US threats mark "an unbelievable low" in the transatlantic relationship.

Several German government officials, MPs and experts already criticised the US's plans in a parliamentary hearing earlier this month, with former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who now works as a lobbyist for Russia's Gazprom, calling for "counter sanctions" against the US. The pipeline has been the subject of heated debate for years also within Europe. The project would allow additional Russian gas to flow directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea and run parallel to the existing pipeline Nord Stream 1.

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