MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 31st July, 2020) US threats to impose sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are aimed at hindering Russia-Europe gas cooperation and infringing Germany‘s sovereignty, and should therefore be decisively repelled at the European or national governments’ level including by imposing counter-sanctions, experts told Sputnik.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington was prepared to use additional tools in an effort to block the completion of the Nord Stream 2 if the US Congress provided them to the administration. The announcement followed Austrian oil and gas corporation OMV CEO Rainer Seele’s remarks about the need for a political response to the US threats in order to defend Europe‘s sovereignty and independence.
According to Steffen Kotre, the spokesman for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Germany‘s Bundestag Economic Affairs and Energy committee, the European states should send a clear message to Washington that foreign interference in Europe‘s affairs was unacceptable, and even if the bloc fails to formulate a coordinated response, it should be provided at the level of the national governments.
“I strongly believe in a quick and decisive response of the European Union towards the American threats. If the European Commission fails to do so I expect the national governments of the involved countries to demonstrate that we will not accept foreign interference in our European businesses. For this reason, I previously asked the German government what kind of countermeasure they plan. The answer was disappointing: none,” Kotre told Sputnik.
“The attacks on the natural gas cooperation between the European Union and Russia through sanctions that violate international law are also attacks on Germany‘s sovereignty. They must therefore be rejected with all clarity: counter-sanctions could be imposed on import goods like US gas. On the other hand, companies must be protected from possible US sanctions by the Federal Government assuming the associated risks.
Meanwhile, Albert Breinger, an AfD party member, expressed concerns over the German government‘s reluctance to defend German interests, citing as an example disappointment shown by the German establishment over US troop pullout from the country.
“In theory, Germany should defend its financial interests, but at the same time, our government does not even want a third country to withdraw its troops. Trump announced the withdrawal let’s give it up for him but the German establishment again resents remaining unprotected. However, the United States had not protected anyone and used Germany as a transit base for its sometimes illegitimate military operations,” the politician told Sputnik.
“At the moment, this project is a hostage to the situation where politicians in both Germany and the United States make decisions far from protecting country’s interests, and use this project and Russia as a bargaining chip in the domestic political game. When [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel voices support for the project, she just wants to punch Trump in the nose. If it was any other president [Barack] Obama or [Joe] Biden, for example there would be no objections from Germany‘s part. Germany would do everything the US tells,” Breinger stressed.
Pompeo said then the United States was updating public guidance to add sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the second line of the Turk Stream 2 under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The projects were exempt from the law, as construction had begun before the legislation went into effect.