Originally appeared at ZeroHedge
Included in Wednesday’s just passed mammoth 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which increases the Pentagon budget by $22 billion (to a whopping $738 billion) — were long-threatened sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 underwater natural gas pipeline.
In the House bill, expected to be approved by the Senate sometime next week before Trump signs it into law, are measures which specifically target companies assembling the pipeline, a last ditch US effort to block the controversial 760-mile project that would allow Russia to export natural gas directly to Germany, depriving Ukraine of badly needed gas transit fees along the current route for Russian supplies.
The $10.5 billion Nord Stream 2, which runs parallel to the existing Nord Stream pipeline, has been spearheaded by Gazprom and five European energy companies, and is reportedly nearing completion. It’s expected to double Russian gas shipments to the EU’s biggest economy Germany. Washington fears it will give Moscow significant geopolitical leverage over Europe while also punishing Ukraine.
Over the past months projected completion has been consistently named as “by year’s end”, hence the Congressional scramble to ‘act now’ on sanctions, but reports say it’s still months away from completion.
Regardless, Gazprom head Alexei Miller has for months said it’s “past the point of no return” and that nothing would derail it. “We are working from the idea that Nord Stream 2 will be realized strictly in accordance with the planned timetable,” he previously told shareholders.
Trump has long charged Germany with essentially giving “billions” of dollars to Russia. Earlier this year a France-led effort in the European Union attempted to halt the project, however, Germany came out on top.
And now Berlin is hitting back over the new sanctions effort, charging Washington with “interference” and meddling in European energy policy.
Angela Merkel’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, told Bloomberg:
“European energy policy must be decided in Europe, not the U.S.” And added, “We fundamentally reject outside intervention and sanctions with extraterritorial effect.”
months away, though it was expected to be operational by end of 2019. No doubt US sanctions could complicate its completion further.
Germany has expected such punitive actions, which have bipartisan support in Congress. The measures additionally target executives of companies operating vessels laying the pipeline.
French electricity and gas firm Engie SA and Royal Dutch shell are among other major companies alongside Gazprom which are major players in the controversial project.
I don’t see Germany sending home U.S. diplomats or removing U.S. military personnel from it’s territory, so is it really serious about getting the Yanks to butt out?
Of course We dont have those traditions about something like that at all. Its vertý much more, that we take advices and listen and conclude.
Europe do need energy and its vital, so we do have our own aganda adding and subtracting the oppinions by USA into them.
I see no removing military personal. The big picture is fair enough. We do have a lot of money ourselves and by that should pay more for own safety. We can effort as many tanks, airplanes and anything else. Its a political issue and not an economic one.
I have agreed in that for many many years.
It’s an empty sanction/threat against Germany, just like the threat/sanction against the Turkey. Trump plays to the media before the 2020 elections.
Thats not empty. We and not many can rely on Trump and sever al others in USA.
Germany (and other states) have set a precedence allowing the US to meddle in their internal affairs and that trend continues.
Yes off course. But Europe is allowed to have its own plans too and work for replacing fossiles.
maybe germany should assume ownership of the pipeline from the 5 companies involved in the construction and ownership of the pipeline in order to make it impossible for the idiots in the white house and on the hill to punish the companies involved, 2 german,1 austrian, 1 french and 1 anglodutch. but then trump will increase the tariffs on german cars. thus, holland assumes the royaldutch part, france for the french company, germany for the 2 german ones and austria for the austrian one . hard for the nincompoops in the white house and on the hill to work around such solution.