Germany tells Trump to pipe down

US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 expected to pass into law next week

Germany has rebuffed the American president Donald Trump’s criticism of European energy policy and spoken out against meddling from non-European powers.

In an emailed statement Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, stated “European energy policy must be decided in Europe, not the US. We fundamentally reject outside intervention and sanctions with extraterritorial effect.”

The openly confrontational message came in reaction to the US House of Representatives’ approval of economic sanctions on companies engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project.

Spearheaded by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, the project seeks to construct a new pipeline across the Baltic Sea to supply eastern and central Europe with Russian natural gas.

The measures will hit companies that supply vessels to lay the pipeline and their executives.

The sanctions have bi-partisan support and are expected to pass the Senate next week before landing on president Trump’s desk. Notwithstanding the German foreign ministers accusatory email, Trump will almost certainly sign off on the measures having been a long-standing critic of German energy policy.

In 2018 the president tweeted: “Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting from 60 to 70 per cent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.” Although Germany does indeed rely on Russia for its supply of natural gas, gas makes up less than 20 per cent of Germany’s power production.

Dmitri Kozak, Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of energy stated last month that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will become operational “in mid-2020”. The upcoming sanctions might delay its opening but with construction already nearing completion it would appear that such measures are too little too late for the US.

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