Us ambassador warns german companies against sanctions

US ambassador warns German companies against sanctions

In the dispute over the nord stream 2 pipeline through the baltic sea, the USA is putting increasing pressure on german companies. After threatening sanctions at the end of december, the U.S. Ambassador to germany, richard grenell, has written a letter to several companies involved in the project.

"We continue to emphasize that companies involved in the russian energy export sector are participating in something that comes with a significant sanctions risk," bild am sonntag quoted the letter as saying. "As a result, companies that support the construction of both pipelines are actively undermining the security of ukraine and europe."

Nord stream 2 to transport gas directly from russia to germany via the baltic sea. Several german companies are involved in the pipeline. Construction of the 1200-kilometer route has already begun in germany, among other countries, although the final route has not yet been determined. Denmark has raised security concerns and is the only one of the nordic littoral countries that has not yet approved the route. Nord stream 2 therefore applied for an alternative route as a precautionary measure, which can also be used without the consent of the danes.

The U.S. And ukraine, but also some eastern EU states like poland, want to stop the project. They argue with the threat coming from russia. For ukraine and other eastern european countries, transit fees for russian gas are also an important source of income.

Grenell warned companies in his letter that the EU is making itself dependent on russia for energy security. Companies must realize the danger the project poses to european energy security and the loss of reputation and sanctions that would be associated with it. A spokesman for grenell told bild: "the letter is not to be taken as a threat, but as a clear message of U.S. Policy."

Foreign minister heiko maas already rejected the US government’s sharper criticism last week. Germany takes the warnings seriously. But: "questions of european energy policy must be decided in europe, not in the U.S.," the SPD politician explained.

The foreign policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, jurgen hardt (CDU), sharply criticized grenell’s actions. "The fact that the U.S. Ambassador is now addressing german companies with direct threats is a new and unacceptable unilateral sharpening of the tone in transatlantic relations. The german government should protest this."While there is indeed a need for discussion on energy security for the EU and its partners, even independently of nord stream 2, the EU has not yet been able to make any progress in this area. "But we will have this debate without outside pressure," hardt clarified.

The deputy chairman of the left-wing parliamentary group in the bundestag, fabio de masi, now called on the german government to call in grenell. "The U.S. Ambassador has apparently gained the impression that he is the governor of an emperor from washington in germany," criticized the member of the bundestag on sunday. Extraterritorial sanctions against german companies were illegal under international law.

The russian group gazprom is formally the only shareholder in the nord stream 2 project company. The company has signed financing agreements with the german groups wintershall and uniper, as well as the dutch-british shell, engie (formerly GDF suez) from france and OMV from austria.

Operators stress pipeline is necessary to ensure security of supply as gas production in europe will decrease. In the medium and long term, the gas transported via nord stream 2 will offer "significant price advantages" for european and, in particular, german consumers in industry and households compared to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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