By Patrick Donahue
“European energy policy must be decided in Europe, not the U.S.,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday. “We fundamentally reject outside intervention and sanctions with extraterritorial effect.”
The long-threatened measures on the Baltic Sea project that supplies gas to Germany directly from Russia would be imposed on companies assembling the pipeline, a venture of Russian energy company Gazprom PJSC. The U.S. House of Representatives included the sanctions in a defense authorization bill approved Wednesday.
The Senate is expected to approve the measure as early next week before Trump signs it into law.
Merkel’s government has been bracing for U.S. sanctions on the 1,230-kilometer (764-mile) undersea supply link, through which Trump has accused Germany of sending “billions” of dollars to Russia. The project has also met with criticism in the European Union, with nations led by Poland saying it ratchets up the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas.
The sanctions, which have bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, come only months away from the project’s completion. The provision targets vessels that lay the pipeline as well as executives from companies linked to the vessels. They could be denied visas and have transactions related to their U.S.-based property or interests blocked.
French electricity and gas firm Engie SA, OMV AG, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Uniper SE and Wintershall DEA, are also investors in the Nord Stream 2 project along with Gazprom.