US sanction threats UNLAWFUL against European companies for this reason

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Nord Stream 2 is a new export gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe across the Baltic Sea. It has been a controversial project due to its supposed undermining of Europes energy status. In May 2020, the German energy regulator refused an exception from competition rules that require Nord Stream 2 to separate gas ownership from transmission

Nord Stream 2 AG spokesperson Jens Muller told TASS on Tuesday that any sanction on the pipeline breaks discrimination laws against European companies.

Muller said: “Nord Stream 2 and the companies supporting the project continue to believe that the soonest possible commissioning of the pipeline is in the interest of Europe’s energy security, European consumers, EU economic competitiveness, and climate protection commitments.

“Any such threat with sanctions is an unlawful discrimination against European companies.”

The spokesperson added that the company would not speculate on further possible actions of other states.

Muller also said that Nord Stream 2 agreed with the European Commission that extraterritorial sanctions were a breach of international law and that EU policies and practices should not be determined by them.

The spokesman also cited a statement of the spokesperson of the German Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier, quoted in the same Handelsblatt article.

The statement said: “Currently the Corona pandemic puts a huge pressure on the countries around this globe.

“This is not the right time to escalate the sanctions spiral by threatening new exterritorial sanctions in violation of international law.”

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell confirmed Washington’s plans to impose new sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper published earlier on Tuesday.

The US ambassador has defended US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline designed to supply the EU with Russian gas as “extremely pro-European.”

Mr Grenell said: “There are 15 countries, plus the European Commission, plus the European Parliament, that have all voiced concern about the project.”

He said he had been “hearing from European diplomats all day today thanking me for taking such action”, adding that the sanctions, which were signed into law by Mr Trump on Friday, were “an extremely pro-European position”.

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Nord Stream 2 is a €9.5 billion pipeline that would bring natural gas directly from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

Mr Trump has frequently spoken out against the project, saying it would increase Germany’s reliance on Russian gas and so turn Europe’s largest economy into a “captive” of Russia.

The punitive measures threaten a further deterioration in relations between Berlin and Washington, already damaged by Mr Trump’s constant attacks on Germany’s trade surplus and its failure to meet Nato targets on defence spending.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz described the legislation as “serious interference in Germany and Europe’s internal affairs and our own sovereignty.”

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov also warned on Sunday that Russia would respond to the measures with steps that would not also harm the Russian economy, without elaborating.

The European Commission is currently analysing the potential impact of these measures on European companies.

The Commission’s objective has always been to ensure that Nord Stream II operates in a transparent and non-discriminatory way with the appropriate degree of regulatory oversight, in line with key principles of international and EU energy law.

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