Thursday, August 3, 2017

Juncker warns of "appropriate steps" if US sanctions against Russia disadvantage EU firms

The European Union (EU) is ready to take "appropriate steps"
The European Union (EU) is ready to take "appropriate steps" in response to US sanctions against Russia if the bloc's interests are undermined, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.

In a statement released by the Commission, Juncker expressed his satisfaction "in principle" that the bill approved recently by the US congress has dropped "a significant proportion" of the intended sanctions against Russia after the EU raised its concerns.

"Moreover, US Congress has now also committed that sanctions will only be applied after the country's allies are consulted," said Juncker.

"I do believe we are still allies of the United States," Juncker said, underscoring that European interests can thus be taken into account in the implementation of any sanctions.

But if not, the president warned that the EU is prepared to take "appropriate steps" in response within days if the US sanctions disadvantage EU companies trading with Russia in the energy sector.

"The sanctions would affect energy transport and the maintenance of pipeline systems in Russia which supply the Ukrainian gas transit system. The new US sanctions could also impact EU efforts to further diversify the energy sector, particularly in the Baltic," said the statement.

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