Washington (AP) – The cross-party sanctioned by the US Congress sanctions against the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2 could be adopted before Christmas. A spokeswoman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday confirmed that sanctioning provisions for the controversial project have been added to the final draft legislative package on defense budget. This legislative package (NDAA) is expected to be adopted before the session break, which begins at the end of next week. The portal "Politico" reported that the House of Representatives could already vote this Wednesday, the Senate soon after.
The Foreign Affairs Committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate passed bills on Nord Stream 2 months ago with overwhelming majorities. They provide for sanctions against the operators of highly specialized ships, which will lay pipes for the pipeline through the Baltic Sea. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly spoken out against the project. Despite appropriate demands from Congress, his government has so far imposed no sanctions.
Nord Stream 2 will deliver gas from Russia to Germany from next year, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. So far, according to the Nord Stream 2 consortium more than 2100 kilometers of double strand were laid in the Baltic Sea, about 300 kilometers are still missing. The US Congress wants to prevent the completion of the project. Sanctions could at least delay it.
The chairman of the East Committee – East European Association of German Business (OAOEV), Oliver Hermes, sharply criticized the planned US sanctions. "An attempted influence from the US side would be more than an unfriendly act, it would massively damage the transatlantic relations that build on mutual respect," Hermes said. According to a US sanction decision, not only new tensions with Russia but also rising energy prices for European consumers are to be expected.
Hermes pointed out that the Americans wanted to sell their own LPG in Europe. "If the impression solidifies that with economic sanctions the competition from the market should be displaced, could be the enthusiasm for such projects with the USA quite cool," it was said in the message.