Germany denounces further US sanctions planned against Nord Stream 2
German officials have condemned US plans to expand sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, writes the business daily Handelsblatt. Several US senators, spearheaded by Ted Cruz (Republican) and Jeanne Shaheen (Democrat), presented a bill last week that would significantly expand existing sanctions and penalise all companies involved in laying pipes, providing underwriting, insurance or reinsurance to companies involved in the project, or providing port facilities for ships involved. Niels Annen, minister of state at the German Federal Foreign Office, called the plan an "interference with European sovereignty." A spokesperson for economy minister Peter Altmaier said Germany's "position on extraterritorial sanctions is well known and clear: We reject them because they are contrary to international law." Senator Ted Cruz has called Nord Stream 2 a "serious threat to America's national security," while Democrats have argued that they are also acting in the European interest.
The US Congress had previously introduced sanctions on companies laying the pipelines which will directly connect Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea, effectively delaying completion, a move that was swiftly criticised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German government has generally remained steadfast regarind its support for the highly contentious endeavour, maintains that it is primarily a commercial project. Proponents argue the pipeline is key to Europe's supply security, while opponents – including many other EU member states as well as some German politicians across political parties – have criticised Nord Stream 2 on environmental, geopolitical and security grounds.