BERLIN, Germany – US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell threatened German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 Russian-European gas pipeline that they could be sanctioned, the Bild am Sonntag edition revealed.
In letters to several German companies, the diplomat recalled that the US “strongly opposes” the gas pipeline to supply Russian gas to Germany across the Baltic Sea. Grenell said the project’s participation would have “serious geopolitical consequences” for Washington’s allies and European partners.
“We emphasize that companies involved in Russian energy exports are taking part in something that could prompt a significant risk of sanctions”, the message reads, as cited by the paper, and with it also calling on German companies to “consider the danger this project poses to European energy security and such as reputation costs and the associated risk of penalties.”
Grenell’s spokeswoman told Bild that “the letter should not be interpreted as a threat, but as a clear message of US policy.” However, it seems likely that the ambassador’s statements will provoke new tensions between Washington and Berlin, the German edition says.
Earlier, German Chancellor Heiko Maas stressed that “issues related to European energy policy must be decided in Europe, not in the US.”
Political scientist said Mikhail Smolin that US pressure on the Nord Stream 2 project reveals the importance for US President Donald Trump of “winning specific economic wars, battles on very concrete issues.”
Washington plans to enter the European market, “eliminating competition with this kind of political pressure”, which not only exerts on the EU and in certain countries, but also on companies that are “less able to resist,” said the analyst, this policy as an “economic terror” applied against “specific points”.
The Nord Stream 2 project involves the construction of two gas pipelines from Russia to Germany, with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The pipeline, with a submarine section through the Baltic Sea, is budgeted at around 9.5 billion euros. It is expected to be released before the end of 2019.