Germany urges European Union countermeasures against U.S. over Russian Federation sanctions
Aug 02, 2017, 00:17
NEW sanctions proposed by the United States against Russian Federation could be against worldwide law and the European Union should consider moves to counteract them, a top German official has warned.
"I am in close contact with Rex Tillerson", the minister said. "Do you think it is right or wrong for the USA expanding sanctions in this way?"
In comments today, German Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries declared the latest round of United States sanctions against Russian Federation a violation of worldwide law, pushing for the European Union to retaliate against the USA to protect its economic interests.
Brigitte Zypries said: "We consider this as being against global law, plain and simple". But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.
Just what shape the European retaliation could take has yet to be determined, although last week Politico reported that options on the table include triggering the 'Blocking Statute, ' an EU regulation that limits the enforcement of extraterritorial USA laws in Europe.
"The U.S. has left the common line it had with Europe for sanctions against Russia", Zypries told ARD television last week, adding that by not coordinating with Europe on the matter, there was a risk that German companies would be harmed.
Furthermore, the reason for Europe's anger is that contrary to its stated intention of punishing Russian Federation for "meddling in the presidential elections", the bill appears - according to Brussels - to target Russia's Nord Stream-2 pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russian Federation to Germany.
The new sanctions have been criticised by several officials in Europe, including the Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
The move has rattled German business leaders and politicians.
"The Americans can't punish German companies because they have business interests in another country", Zypries said.
"Before we opened LNG in Lithuania. we paid for gas 40 per cent more than Germany was paying, because Russian Federation always used energy projects as a tool of influence, a tool of suppression and a tool of manipulation", she said.
Germany's economy minister appealed to the United States on Tuesday to talk to Europeans about the effects of tougher sanctions they plan to introduce against Russian Federation, saying European companies must not be punished.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is visiting Eastern Europe and Georgia this week, said "we hope for better days, for better relations with Russia" eventually, despite Trump's plans to sign the sanctions bill. "This is possible only when we are united and act together".
Several foreign airlines have suspended flights to the country, and families of U.S. diplomats there have been ordered to leave. The oil industry is anxious they could target Venezuela's crude exports, 40 percent of which are bought by the United States.
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