The potential new round of US sanctions against Russia violates international law, and therefore the European Commission should consider countermeasures, German Minister for Economics and Energy Brigitte Zypries said Monday.
“We consider this to be a violation of international law.
“The Americans cannot punish German companies because they operate economically in another country,” Zypries told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.
“We do not want a trade war, of course. That is why we have repeatedly and on different levels insisted that the Americans do not abandon the policy of common [anti-Russia] sanctions ..`[Since they did] it is therefore the right thing to do for the EU Commission to look into countermeasures,” the minister added.
NAN reports that the U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed a bill that places restrictions on President Donald Trump from loosening sanctions on Russia, a measure that could tie his hands if he seeks a reset in relations with Moscow.
Senators voted 98 to two to pass the legislation, which also imposes a new round of sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.
On July 25, the House passed the bill 419 to three.
The legislation now goes to the president’s desk for signature.
NAN reports that on Thursday, the EU delivered a stern warning to the U.S. over the new sanctions on Russia, opening up the prospect of a rift between the two allies over how to deal with Moscow’s foreign interventions.
EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said the bloc would act “within days” if it does not receive reassurances on the potential impact of new sanctions on European interests.
The bill, drawn up largely in response to Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US election, calls for new measures against Russia, North Korea and Iran.
It also limits any effort by the White House to weaken such penalties.
The EU has previously coordinated with the US over sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
The union feared that the latest measures could hit companies that are involved in the financing of a controversial new pipeline, Nord Stream II, that would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany.
NAN reports that France called the US bill “unlawful” due to its “extraterritorial reach,” saying it could impact Europeans if enacted.
“We have challenged similar texts in the past,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws.”(Sputnik/NAN)