A blue cover closes a pipe at the receiving station on the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. (picture alliance/dpa)
German companies active in Russia have condemned the planned US sanctions against companies connected with the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, saying they are a blow to energy security in Europe and have called on the German government to take countermeasures. "We should respond to sanctions that damage Europe with counter sanctions," the head of the German-Russian Chamber of Foreign Trade (AHK), Matthias Schepp, told dpa in Moscow late on Wednesday night. He reacted to a decision by the House of Representatives in Washington to impose punitive measures on the pipeline.
"It is time for Berlin and Brussels to adopt a clear political position and respond with targeted countermeasures," Schepp said. Europe's energy independence is at stake here, he added. He argued that Nord Stream 2 increases energy security in Europe and ensures favourable energy prices, also in comparison to the more expensive American liquefied natural gas (LNG). Schepp accused the United States of wanting to use the sanctions to promote the sale of LNG to Europe.
"Germany needs low energy prices in order to survive in global competition with its energy-intensive industries," Schepp said. He rejected the argument that this led to excessive dependence on Russian gas in Germany as a "false argument." On "sober consideration of the facts, the EU undoubtedly depends less on Russian gas than Russia does on foreign exchange earnings for Russian gas that flows into the EU." However, he said that the sanctions would not affect Russia as much as European companies and German energy interests.
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