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EU Angry at U.S. Russia Sanctions, Demands White House Response

July 24, 2017 (EIRNS)—European Commission (EC) president Jean-Claude Juncker is warning the Trump Administration that the EC will respond sharply to the imposition of new U.S. sanctions on Russia if these are adopted "without EU concerns being taken into account."

Among the responses said to be under consideration according to Politico, is the European Union's "Blocking Statute," a regulation stating that no decision based on extraterritorial U.S. laws is enforceable in the EU. This is the same principle China has asserted in defending its sovereign interests.

Both the Financial Times and Politico obtained a copy of an internal memo which Juncker has reportedly prepared for a July 26 meeting of the EC, expressing concern about the effects of sanctions on European companies "doing legitimate business under EU measures with Russian entities in the railways, financial, shipping or mining sectors, among others." The bill that the U.S. House will vote on tomorrow imposes individual sanctions for investing in Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, the Caspian Sea oil and gas pipelines, Ukraine gas transit and the Zohr field off the Egyptian coast.

According to Politico, Juncker has said that Brussels "should stand ready to act within days," if changes aren’t made to its satisfaction. Aside from the "Blocking Statute," the EC also wants a public declaration from the Trump administration stating it will not impose new sanctions in a way that targets European interests. It may also resort to World Trade Organization retaliatory measures.

A EU delegation is reportedly in Washington meeting with Congressmen on the sanctions issue, Sputnik reported today. EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn reported that,

"concerning the U.S. sanctions [against Russia]...there is still ongoing discussions between our delegation and the House of Representatives to explain something and I am not quite sure what the final decisions are, but based on that, we will make our assessments."

From the Russian side, Senator Alexei Pushkov, a member of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee, warned in a tweet that new sanctions "will not calm down" Trump’s enemies inside the U.S.... They will only put [the Trump Administration] at loggerheads with the EU and block any normalization of relations with Russia."