02:04 GMT16 July 2020
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    A recent Bloomberg report has it, based on the comments of a number of German officials, that Berlin could now be pushing for a joint EU response to Washington’s interference in the bloc’s energy interests, as it has been striving to challenge the US monopoly in the field.

    The European Commission hasn’t commented on the EU’s countermeasures proposed by Germany, should the US expand its economic sanctions against European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told a briefing in Brussels.

    “We can’t comment yet on this information. We can’t say anything about what we are doing or discussing, because in this case, it would be proof that such work is in progress. Sorry about that”, he said, as cited by Russian news media.

    Bloomberg reported the other day, citing sources, that Berlin was mulling pushing for a coordinated EU effort to combat and reverse the potential US sanctions.

    The officials were quoted as saying that the German government believes that irrespective of the general divide over the Russian pipeline project, the bloc's members should stay united and collectively respond to the openly demonstrated US interference in Europe’s energy interests.

    Germany's authorities and businesses are completely rejecting the US approach of blackmailing and issuing threats against the vital Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Russian Ambassador to Berlin Sergei Nechaev said Friday.

    "The German government, the German business circles, are decidedly rejecting the logic of blackmail and threats, confirming the commercial demand for implementing Nord Stream 2, which is necessary for the German economy in light of the rejection of coal and nuclear [energy] generation. We assume this support persists, and the pipeline will be launched despite all our ill-wishers' efforts", Nechaev noted.

    Talks about the reported forthcoming round of US sanctions kicked off on 4 June, when US senators tabled a bipartisan bill that would expand sanctions on Nord Stream 2 to include an array of companies that provide certification, insurance, and port facilities for the grand project. The text of the bill was published on 25 June, with the new legislation "clarifying and expanding" the limitations over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Senator Adam Kinzinger's website says.

    The Nord Stream 2 plan stipulates a 745-mile-long twin pipeline that will carry up to 55 billion cubic metres (1.942 trillion cubic feet) of gas annually from Russia to Germany, passing through the Baltic territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden.

    Despite the threat of sanctions, Europe has moved forward with its plans to avoid monopoly and dependency on a single energy player, in particular the US, which has significantly boosted its gas sales to Europe over the last decade, according to a report in Modern Diplomacy magazine.

    On 20 December 2019, President Donald Trump greenlit the 2020 defence budget, which included sanctions against the project, forcing Allseas, a Swiss company responsible for laying the pipes, to pull out from the almost finishing stage of the project, now roughly 98 percent complete. Russia is now finalising the construction on its own.


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    pipelines, energy, Nord Stream, Russia, Germany
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