Juncker: EU will defend economic interests vs US’ new Russia sanctions

New Europe / Alexandros Michailidis

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico ,European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Energy Union Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič hold a press conference after their meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Jul. 27, 2017.

Juncker: EU will defend economic interests vs US’ new Russia sanctions


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After the signature of new, sharper US sanctions against Russia by President Donald Trump, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appeared deeply concerned.

“The view of sanctions is different from where you sit,” said the EU executive. The bloc sees the new sanctions adopted by Trump as part of the US’ new industrial policy. Juncker suggested on Wednesday that the sanctions could adversely affect European firms including gas and oil projects, especially the ones that affect the EU’s interests.

“At the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy, and at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, I said that if the Americans do so, we would be willing to respond adequately within days meant that much of the intended volume has been turned back when it comes to Russia sanctions,” said Juncker, explaining that this would mean that the US Congress has now determined that these sanctions could take place only in consultation with the allies of the US, such as the EU. “I am still, in fact, we are allies of the USA,” said the head of the European Commission during a radio interview with the ARD-Europastudio Brussels on Wednesday.

The European Commission president added that European interests have to always be taken into account during the implementation of the sanctions. If this is not the case, President Juncker reserves the right to take countermeasures, according to what he said in the interview. “We are prepared,” said Juncker, “we must also defend our economic interests against the US, and we will.”

According to the EU executive chief, the EU is sticking to its own sanctions against Russia, but the full implementation of the Minsk Agreement requires the G7 to take joint decisions on sanctions and work closely together. “The US law could have unintended effects on EU interests in the field of energy security. The sanctions would be affected by the transport and maintenance of pipeline systems in Russia, which provide the Ukrainian gas transit system,” says Juncker, adding that the new US sanctions could have an impact on the EU’s efforts to promote further diversification in the energy sector, particularly in the Baltic States.

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