News Digest Item
16 Jun 2017

Germany and Austria say US sanction plans against Russia threaten Europe’s energy security

Federal Foreign Office / Financial Times / Reuters

A new draft US Senate bill that is meant to tighten economic sanctions on Russia could threaten Europe’s energy supply security, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern have said in a joint press release. “The threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions” on European companies “that participate in the development of European energy supply” could not be accepted, the politicians said. The bill’s actual aim was “selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market” in order to “protect US jobs in the natural gas and petroleum industries”. Threatening to impose penalties on companies from Germany, Austria, and other European countries for participating in or funding “natural gas projects involving Russia, such as Nord Stream 2, impacts European-American relations in a new and very negative way”. Europe’s energy supply was “Europe’s affair,” they said, urging the US State Department to continue efforts to amend the draft bill.
The Financial Times called the joint statement “unusually strongly worded”, adding that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “likely to be more cautious” of criticising US lawmakers, as she had “long been wary of the Nord Stream project, which is strongly opposed by Poland and other eastern European EU allies”.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Chancellor Angela Merkel shared the concern expressed in the joint statement, reports Reuters in a separate article.

Read the press release in English here and the Financial Times article in English here (behind paywall) and the Reuters article in English here.

See the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.

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