The transatlantic partnership is once again being tested for strength. This time the challenge is internal: the allies of the United States and Germany intend to introduce mutual sanctions over the Russian gas pipeline. Angela Merkel doubts the desire of Americans to remain leaders and calls on the European Union to unite for a constructive dialogue with Russia.
Sanctions for an ally
US restrictive measures – encroachment on EU sovereignty and European energy security. Thus, the German Foreign Ministry reacted to the news of sanctions against Berlin due to Nord Stream 2.
Representatives of both parties submitted the bill to the US Senate (Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act of 2020). If the document is accepted, it will supplement last year’s PIISA, because of which they stopped building the gas pipeline, and the completion of the project was delayed.
“Nord Stream – 2,” according to senators, threatens the energy security of Europe and the United States. The new sanctions will affect not only the companies laying the pipeline, but also those who provide legal, certification, port or insurance services. Meanwhile, a softened version of the bill was introduced in the lower house.
Congressmen have not approved anything yet, President Trump has not signed the document. But in Berlin they already “regretfully familiarized themselves” with the initiative and responded.
“The German government has long believed that sanctions with extraterritorial consequences are contrary to international law and do not contribute to the development of international cooperation,” said Minister of Economics of Germany Peter Altmeier.
According to Bloomberg, German authorities are worried that new restrictions will hit European companies, banks and government organizations. US intervention in European energy affairs is forcing a coordinated response.
“They want to make us happy against our will,” said Michael Harms, Executive Director of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy. According to him, the companies of twelve European states will suffer. We are talking about bans on entering the United States, arrests of accounts, difficulties with placing orders.
Klaus Ernst, chairman of the Bundestag committee on economics and energy, proposed calling the American ambassador to the carpet. And if the suggestion doesn’t work, he added, we can discuss duties on US LNG imports.
According to Angela Merkel, American sanctions do not correspond to the German understanding of law. “We think that completing the project is the right decision, and we work in that spirit,” she explained.
The Chancellor defiantly doubted American leadership: “We grew up with the awareness that the United States wants to be a world power. If they voluntarily cease to fulfill this role, we should seriously think about it.” Germany and other EU countries, Merkel believes, it is necessary to develop a unified approach to relations with major geopolitical players – such as China, Turkey and Russia.