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Europe Resists New Sanctions Imposed by United States Congress

July 28, 2017 (EIRNS)—The new Russian sanctions voted by Congress which imposes penalties on European companies which do business with Russian oil and gas companies offer an opportunity for real leaders to rally their populations around the national interests.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said July 26,

"It would be unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interests of U.S. industry policies. Germany strongly backs the Nordstream-2 pipeline deal it has signed with Russia."

European Council President Jean-Claude Juncker, after pronouncing on July 26 that "The European Union is fully committed to the sanctions regime" mantra, continued,

"G7 unity on sanctions and close coordination among allies are at the heart of ensuring the full implementation of the Minsk Accord. This is a core objective that the EU and the United States share. The U.S. bill could have unintended [sic] unilateral effects that impact the EU’s energy security interests. This is why the Commission concluded today that if our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days.

"If the U.S. fails to take the EU’s interests into account, and declare that the discretionary powers would not be used against European companies, the Commission is likely to either seek arbitration at the WTO or rule the U.S. laws unenforceable on EU territory."

France called the U.S. bill "unlawful," due to its "extraterritorial reach," on July 28, and added that it could impact Europeans if enacted, CNN reported. "We have challenged similar texts in the past," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of U.S. legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws."

Already on June 15, AP reported that Germany and Austria voiced sharp criticism and threatened retaliation, if the latest U.S. sanctions against Moscow affected European businesses involved in piping in Russian natural gas. In a joint statement, Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that while it was important for Europe and the United States to form a united front on the issue of Ukraine, "We can’t accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies," citing a section of the bill that calls for the United States to continue to oppose the Nord Stream-2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea.