German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has criticized US sanctions against Iran, Russia and Turkey, which affect German companies. He stated that the US sanctions threaten trade between Russia and the EU.
“It is simply unacceptable to use sanctions to influence European energy policy," the diplomat chief told the heads of the German missions during a conference in Berlin.
Maas, representing the Social Democratic Party in the coalition government, stated that Germany and Europe depend on cheap energy prices in order to remain competitive internationally. According to him, if the US wants to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Europe, this would be welcomed to broaden European supplies. But he insisted that “decisions to buy must be based on price, rather than enforced with sanctions."
“And that is why we are not participating in a discussion, which aims to stop Nord Stream 2. We support the EU Commission instead, currently trying to reach an agreement with Russia and Ukraine on the long-term continuation of natural gas transit through Ukraine,” he said.
The Nord Stream 2 is facing fierce opposition from the United States, which has ambitious plans to export its own LNG to Europe. Washington has repeatedly warned European countries not to take part in the project, threatening to impose sanctions on European energy companies involved in it. According to Washington, Nord Stream 2 violates the energy security of the EU and also undermines the interests of Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly urged its European partners not to perceive the Nord Stream pipeline as an instrument of influence.
Nord Stream 2, a joint project of Russia's Gazprom with France's Engie, Austria's OMV AG, UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year to the European Union across the Baltic Sea to Germany.