German lawmakers are calling to block the United States from European businesses after Congress threatened sanctions against any company working on the Nord Stream 2 – a submarine gas pipeline linking Russia to Germany.
When completed, the $10 billion pipeline is expected to double the amount of Russian natural gas reaching Germany.
Lawmakers in the US, Ukraine, and Poland fear the pipeline would give Russia too much power over Europe’s energy supply (not to mention massive profits for Putin).
President Trump has already signed off on asset freezes and visa restrictions for any company involved in the project.
One Swiss company has already suspended work on the pipeline in fear of sanctions US lawmakers warned could be “fatal.”
Germany and the EU responded to the threat with outrage, with one official saying the EU opposed the sanctions “as a matter of principle to the imposition of sanctions against European companies engaged in legal activities.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said the sanctions would “hit German and European companies and constitute an interference in our internal affairs.”
German lawmakers already frustrated with President Trump over his troop withdrawals, trade tariffs, and abandonment of international agreements say it may be necessary to work closer with Russia and China to fortify Europe’s defenses against US sanctions.
German officials say they will propose a firewall to protect Europe from US sanctions next year when Berlin assumes the EU’s presidency.
“Washington is treating the EU as an adversary,” said one official. “It is dealing the same way with Mexico, Canada, and with allies in Asia. This policy will provoke counter-reactions across the world.”
Russia, unperturbed by the threat, said it would use its own ships to finish the pipeline if its European partners withdraw. As it stands, the project is just under 100 miles short of completion.
Editor’s note: While Trump may be over reaching here, there is no doubt that Russia would use the pipeline for political purposes.