Disputes over energy supply to Europe cannot be solved by sanctions, so the U.S. imposing measures against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project would be the wrong way to handle the matter, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said, according to Reuters.
“Matters related to the European energy policy must be decided upon in Europe, not in the United States,” the minister said during a reception organized by the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.
“Imposing unilateral sanctions against Nord Stream 2 is a wrong path anyway. I clearly stated this to U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo,” he added.
U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance and urged it to halt work on the $11 billion, Russian-led gas pipeline that is to be built in the Baltic Sea.
Berlin-Moscow relations have been tense since Russia annexed Crimea four years ago. But they have a common interest in the Nord Stream 2 project, which is expected to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream route.
Washington is concerned the pipeline, which will bypass Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states by running under the Baltic Sea, will strip Ukraine of important transit revenues.
Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper reported last Sunday, citing sources in the German government, that Berlin was concerned by Washngton’s plans to impose sanctions on two construction companies – Swiss-based Allseas Group and Italy’s Saipem. According to the paper, Allseas Group, which is to lay “over 90% of pipelines for the project,” will have to bear the brunt, while Saipem has already completed its work under the contract.