On October 10th, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson, two US senators announced the introduction of the European Energy Security and Diversification Act.
According to the two senators, it is a bill provides new tools for the US to combat “malign Russian influence” in the energy sector in Europe. It also aims at creating economic opportunities for the US, internally and internationally.
“Russia uses its dominance of the energy market, along with bribery, corruption and propaganda to undermine Western institutions and install pliant governments that are unable or unwilling to counter Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin,” the press release said.
“The European Energy Security and Diversification Act will authorize $1 billion in US financing for European energy projects that, paired with increased diplomatic and technical support, will help diversify Europe’s energy supply and decrease Russia’s hold on the region.”
According to the senators Russia was doing everything in its power to increase its influence in its geographical sphere.
“We’ve rightly invested billions to shore up military defenses in Eastern Europe, but let’s not forget the equally dangerous implications of Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe,” Murphy said. “Vladimir Putin gets away with a lot because so much of Europe relies on Russia for energy.”
According to him, with US help its allies can secure new sources of energy and contribute to strategically important projects. The new bill “can help break Putin’s grip on Europe and create jobs here in the US.”
The new piece of legislation allows the US Trade and Development Agency, as well as other agencies, to support US private sector investment in energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe starting from Fiscal Year 2019 until 2023.
The projects would primarily be focused on natural gas infrastructure, including storage facilities for liquefied natural gas imports and reverse flow capacity.
Also on October 10th Francis Fannon criticized the Nord Stream pipeline, claiming that it aims to divide “free nations” and that Eastern Mediterranean gas could “reinforce” the European energy security.
“There should be many suppliers, but one Europe and one trans-Atlantic alliance,” Fannon said. Russia “uses energy for coercive political aims,” he claimed.
The US has threatened to impose sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 project, however the German company Uniper which is one of the financing partners of the project remains fully committed to it. The German government is also fully committed to the project.
Trump and his administration have repeatedly condemned the project, saying that it will make Germany and the EU dependent on Russian energy.
In July, Donald Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met to avoid a trade war between the EU and the US. After the meeting, Trump announced that the EU would buy more US liquefied natural gas.
Despite that, the Nord Stream 2 project is continuing at full speed and no threat of sanctions appears capable of stopping it.