14:47 26.07.2017

European Commission concerned about possible negative effects of Russia sanctions bill passed by U.S. House

The European Commission members are concerned about possible effects that the U.S. bill on Russia sanctions can have on the European Union's energy independence, the European Commission said in a communiqué circulated in Brussels on Wednesday.

"The Bill as endorsed by the U.S. House of Representatives demonstrates that a number of these concerns are being taken into account. It nevertheless foresees the imposition of sanctions on any company (including European) which contributes to the development, maintenance, modernization or repair of energy export pipelines by the Russian Federation," the communiqué says.

Depending on the bill's implementation, "this could affect infrastructure transporting energy resources to Europe, for instance the maintenance and upgrade of pipelines in Russia that feed the Ukraine gas transit system," it says.

"It could also have an impact on projects crucial to the EU's diversification objectives such as the Baltic Liquefied Natural Gas project," it says.

"While the College underlined the importance of the sanctions regime against Russia and its strict implementation, it expressed concerns about the possible negative political consequences of the draft Bill," the European Commission said.

It was reiterated at the G7 meeting in May that "new sanctions should always be coordinated between allies."

The document quotes European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as saying: "The EU is fully committed to the Russia sanctions regime. However, G7 unity on sanctions and close coordination among allies are at the heart of ensuring the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. This is a core objective that the EU and the U.S. share."

"The U.S. Bill could have unintended unilateral effects that impact the EU's energy security interests," Juncker said.

"This is why the Commission concluded today that if our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days," he said.

"America first cannot mean that Europe's interests come last," Juncker said.

The EU is currently raising its concerns via all diplomatic channels with the U.S. and its counterparts, the communiqué says.

"The Commission will continue to closely monitor the ongoing legislative process in the U.S. and the subsequent implementation of the Bill and will act swiftly if and when needed," it says.

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