Germany urges European Union countermeasures against U.S. over Russian Federation sanctions
00:14, Aug 2, 2017
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And, sure enough, on Monday, the Germany economy minister said that tew penalties against Moscow proposed by U.S. lawmakers violate worldwide law and officials in Brussels should consider countermeasures.
"The Americans can not punish German firms because they are conducting business in another country", she said.
The new package of measures against Russian Federation, passed in Congress last week and set to be signed into law by Trump, would allow the U.S.to impose sanctions on companies that worked on Russia's energy export pipelines. "Anyway, the bill provides for consultations with us, Europeans, before this can happen", the minister noted.
Of particular concern to European energy firms is Nord Stream 2, a pipeline project to pump Russian natural gas via the Baltic Sea to landfall in Germany.
Germany had, she said, repeatedly asked Washington not to move away from common anti-Russia sanctions policy.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is maintaining contact with his USA counterpart Rex Tillerson on a new sanctions package that has been seriously criticized in Germany, according to a statement made by Gabriel on Tuesday. "That means that it is right that the European Commission now considers countermeasures", said Zypries.
"Unfortunately, that is exactly what they are doing".
"It is important for us to overcome the Ukrainian crisis and maintain the political pressure caused by sanctions", the German Foreign Ministry quotes him as saying.
A European Commission spokesman in Brussels said the bloc would be following the sanctions process closely. "We will protect ourselves from the industrial policy under the motto "America Above All" pursued under the pretext of sanctions", he stressed.
"One is left with the sense that the United States is looking to its own economic interests", Volker Triere, the head of the Germany Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said last week.
Brigitte Zypries, who replaced Gabriel as economy minister, earlier urged "countermeasures" against the United States for anti-Russian sanctions.
The latest sanctions proposed against Moscow was passed in the US House of Representatives with only three votes against on July 25, and three days later in the Senate with just two oppositions.
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