Brussels has expressed deep concern over the implications of new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea, especially as it affects the flow of energy from Russia to Europe. Officials of the European Commission has stated that they were ready to defend the interest of the EU if they were not addressed by the US.
Lawmakers in the lower legislative chambers unanimously ratified the bill with sanctions on the three countries and forwarded to the Senate. The actions were to punish Russia for its alleged role in meddling in the US presidential election 2016 and its continued meddling in Ukraine. Moscow has denied interfering in the 2016 elections and says the new sanctions would harm bilateral interests, which it hoped would be strengthened after the election of Donald Trump.
According to a statement released by EU commissioners meeting in Brussels, it says that they are concerned “notably because of the draft bill’s possible impact on EU energy independence.” However, the bill was changed on Tuesday, sparing pipelines starting from Russia and those that are passing through, like the Caspian pipeline which carries oil from Kazakhstan to Europe.
Though,according to the EU, the measure will still affect the European firms contributing to the general development of Russia’s generated energy sector as they could also be sanctioned.
Germany, a crucial player in the EU has called for understanding and cooperation between Berlin and Washington on the matter, stating that the US was using the sanctions as a tool of industrial policy against Russia. Germany’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Germany “could not accept the practice of hiding under sanctions to implement industrial policy.
The United States and EU have introduced numerous sanctions on Russia since 2014 after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.