- The amendment passed unanimously in the Democratic-controlled House on Monday.
- High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell strongly condemned the vote.
- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that members of the construction project fall under the CAATSA Act.
The US House of Representatives voted in favor of an amendment which would impose sanctions on companies helping to complete construction of the controversial Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream gas pipelines. The amendment is part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The amendment passed unanimously in the Democratic-controlled House on Monday. “Russia is trying to develop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to exert undue control on our European allies and their energy supplies. We must stop [President Vladimir] Putin’s hostile influence strategy,” Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) said in a tweet after the vote.
The amendment, in particular, refers to the introduction of restrictive measures against foreign persons, which significantly facilitate the sale, lease, or provision of vessels for laying pipes intended for the construction of these pipelines. The NDAA has yet to be approved by the US Senate and signed by President Donald Trump.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell strongly condemned the vote:
“As a matter of principle the European Union opposes the use of sanctions by third countries on European companies carrying out legitimate business. Moreover, it considers the extraterritorial application of sanctions to be contrary to international law. European policies should be determined here in Europe not by third countries.”
Project Participants will be Subject to CAATSA Law
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that members of the construction project fall under the CAATSA Act on July 15. “Companies aiding and abetting Russia’s malign-influence projects,” Pompeo insisted, “will not be tolerated.” He also clarified that the additional sanctions will affect not only Nord Stream 2, but also parts of the Turkish Stream project.
“This is an indicator of the weakness of the American system. Apart from strong-arm tactics, they do not have any other effective tools,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Nord Stream 2 was to be laid on the bottom of the Baltic Sea in parallel with Nord Stream. Countries through whose territorial waters the new gas pipeline passes (Finland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark) have allowed the laying of pipes.
Meanwhile, the United States and a number of European countries oppose the construction of the pipeline. According to them, it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies.
Denmark Allows Completion of Nord Stream-2
The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) allowed the use of pipe-laying vessels with anchor positioning, in addition to dynamic positioning vessels during the construction of Nord Stream-2 in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
In its statement, the agency stressed that the continuation of work using anchor vessels is allowed, as the rest of the pipeline to be built in Denmark lies outside the chemical weapons disposal area, where the use of anchors and bottom trawling is not recommended.
The amendment relates only to the possible use of anchored vessels, and is an explanation of only one of the permit conditions. An anchored vessel has already been used successfully during the construction of the Danish section of the Nord Stream pipeline and the Nord Stream section.