Germany threatens retaliation if U.S. sanctions harm its firmsStaff Writer | June 17, 2017
Germany threatened on Friday to retaliate against the United States if new sanctions on Russia being proposed by the U.S. Senate end up penalising German firms.
Tensions New sanctions against Russia and Iran
rucially, it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines.
Berlin fears that could pave the way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.
Among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas group Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Donald Trump before it becomes law, as "a peculiar move".
He said it was "strange" that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U.S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies.
"That must not happen," said the spokesman, Steffen Seibert.
In an interview with Reuters, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said Berlin would have to think about counter-measures if Trump backed the plan.
"If he does, we'll have to consider what we are going to do against it," Zypries said. ■