EU condemns US foreign policy of sanctions and intimidation

On Wednesday, Twenty-four nations of the European Union together lodged a complaint against US President Donald Trump’s ‘misuse of power’ to intimidate other nations. An EU diplomat who preferred to remain anonymous told Bloomberg that all the bloc members, except three nations, sent the complaint to the US State Department.

The move was taken following the top EU official Josep Borrell’sJuly 17 statement, in which he condemned US President’s use of foreign policy as an intimidation tool to press other nations, who enter into business dealings with its rivals or enemies. Borrell highlighted how Washington imposed sanctions on European companies that entered even legitimate business deals with US foes including Iran, Russia.

He also spoke about theUS sanctions on Iran, Cuba, and the International Criminal Court, saying the EU stands against the US policy of enforcing its orders against companies and individuals all over the world.

“I am deeply concerned at the growing use of sanctions, or the threat of sanctions, by the United States against European companies and interests,” Borrell said in a statement.

“Where common foreign and security policy goals are shared, there is great value in the coordination of targeted sanctions with partners. Where policy differences exist, the European Union is always open to dialogue. But this cannot take place against the threat of sanctions.”

He also cited the US’s recent stunt of sanctions levied against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in order to stop its construction. The pipeline project aimed at energy transfer between Russia and Germany. With the recent sanctions, US-EU ties, specifically, US-Germanyties hit a new low, as Trump administration imposed heavy tariffs on the bloc member nations and pulled out of multilateral agreements such as the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. Last month, US President also announced his decision to withdraw about 12,000 troops positioned in Germany, citing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government being “delinquent” on defense spending, as a reason. Tensions between the US and Germany rose after the former halted of the gas pipeline project, calling it illegal and a means of funneling “billions” to Russia.

In response to the US’ legal and economic sanctions, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas this week said EU member states would hold discussions about the extent of extraterritorial sanctions that can violate international law.

On Monday, during a joint media briefing held by Mass and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Mass said, “No state has the right to dictate Europe’s energy policy with threats — and it won’t work.” Maas made a daylong visit to Moscow to confirm Germany’s full support for the completion of the gas link. Lavrov said at the briefing, “There are reasons to assume that it will be done in the near future.” But there as few EU nations including Poland who strongly oppose Russia-Germany has a pipeline project, calling it over-dependence on Russian energy which might prove to be dangerous for the EU in the future.

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