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Germans and Austrians Slam Congressional Sanctions Bill

July 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—Europeans continue to attack the U.S. Congress for passing new sanctions against Russia as an attack on the European economy. Charging that the sanctions directly undermine European energy policy, the managing director of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations (Ost-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft) Michael Harms said that "Washington’s decisions on energy supplies in Europe are unacceptable," and that the latest sanctions passed by U.S. lawmakers threaten "not only the construction of Nord Stream 2, but also other gas pipelines," reported TASS.

"Sanctions remain a brake on cooperation," Harms continued. He cited the European Commission and certain EU member states’ politicization of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project as unacceptable. "We are categorically against the politicization of Nord Stream 2 by the European Commission and some European countries," Harms told reporters, noting that the pipeline would play a key role in ensuring Europe’s energy security.

In Austria, Chancellor Christian Kern, a longtime critic of the sanctions regime against Russia, wrote on his Facebook page:

"I consider the U.S. sanctions against Russia absolutely unacceptable. Political interests should not be mixed up with economic ones, to the detriment of employment in the European Union."

Kern said that the issue of EU energy supply "is a matter for Europe."

At this moment, a sanctions bill has been passed by the House of Representatives, but not yet by the Senate. President Trump opposes parts of it; his office says he will decide whether or not to veto it once final legislation reaches his desk. Although it seems very likely that a bill will pass both Houses of Congress with veto-proof majorities in excess of two-thirds, it cannot be excluded that the President could find the votes in one or both Houses to sustain a veto.