The French Institute of Public Opinion (Ifop) has conducted an opinion poll for Sputnik in order to try and determine how Europeans will react toward a new bill implemented by the US that threatens to impose sanctions upon European companies involved in joint natural gas ventures with Russia.
A total of 3,228 respondents aged 18 and over in the UK, Germany, France and Poland were asked the following question: "As a result of the newly adopted bill, the USA may impose sanctions on some European companies that are involved in gas projects with Russia. Some say that the US sanctions against EU companies are unacceptable as an instrument to deal with European partners. Others say that the US sanctions are fully acceptable even if they affect European companies. Please, choose the statement that is closest to your opinion."
Germany has also opposed attempts by the European commission to update the EU Gas Directive and ensure that all EU rules, including third-party access, tariffs, partial ownership and transparency, apply to all pipelines, including Nord Stream 2 — a joint venture of Gazprom with France's Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, Royal Dutch Shell, Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, which is expected to bring an estimated 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas across the Baltic Sea to Europe.
Berlin however has insisted that these updates would be unnecessary as European legislation is fully applicable to companies and infrastructure in the European Union, to which the undersea pipeline is connected.
Nearly half of Britons (47 percent) also shared their sentiment.
The respondents in Poland appeared to be less certain about the issue: while the majority (39 percent) claimed that imposing sanctions even if they harm European companies is ok, they outnumbered the opponents of this approach (37 percent) by a very slim margin.
Earlier in November 2017 then-Foreign Minister of Poland Witold Waszczykowski had announced that Warsaw wantedto terminate its natural gas deal with Moscow after it expires in 2022. Poland also vocally opposes the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.
US President Donald Trump signed into law the new sanctions against Russia, previously approved by the Senate, specifically targeting the Nord Stream project in August. The new sanctions have been harshly criticized by the EU with the German foreign minister calling the restrictions illegal and aiming to take Russia’s place on the European energy market.