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Austria concerned about US attempts to achieve own economic ambitions via Russia sanctions

The European energy supply is the matter of Europe, spokesman of the Austrian Chancellor said

VIENNA, July 25. /TASS/. Sanctions planned by the United States against Russia may affect operations of European companies in the energy infrastructure sphere and therefore extraterritorial application of such US laws is unacceptable, official spokesperson of the Austrian Chancellor Juergen Schwarz told TASS on Tuesday.

"A unilateral toughening of the US sanctions against the Russian Federation can be a regrettable rejection of earlier agreed joint policy of the EU and the US concerning Ukraine. It will be very regrettable if the US leaves this common track now," Schwarz said.

"As far as we are aware, planned sanctions can also be aimed against European companies working in the European energy infrastructure development sphere. They can also affect Austrian majors. Extraterritorial application of such national laws [US bill on toughening sanctions against Russia - TASS] is absolute unacceptable," he said.

The official also said that the Austrian authorities express a serious concern about US attempts to influence the energy supply in Europe through its unilateral sanctions against Russia and to achieve its own economic ambitions.

"That will be very alarming, if the US tries through unilateral sanctions to influence energy supply in Europe and to achieve its own economic ambitions. The European energy supply is the matter of Europe," he said.

EU concerns

The European Commission (EC) earlier called on the United States to negotiate with partners on its unilateral banning measures and warned about possible negative consequences this package of sanctions may have for the energy security of the European Union. In Brussels, they believe that Washington wants to impose these sanctions due to domestic political problems.

On July 24, the EC said that the EU is watching the discussion of new sanctions in the US with concern, given the energy independence of the EU and its interest in energy security.

According to Financial Times, which had access to a document prepared for the EC meeting scheduled for July 26, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called to urgently look at possible response measures in case European companies are hit by the United States’ anti-Russian sanctions. He said Brussels must be ready to act swiftly in case the United States takes measures ignoring the European Union’s concerns.

Germany and Austria also strongly criticized US plans to impose sanctions on European companies participating in the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline and threatened with retaliatory measures.

Bill on sanctions

The bill, in particular brings the sanctions that were imposed on the base of executive orders of US President Back Obama in connection with the situation in Ukraine and reunification of Crimea with Russia to the legislative level.

The anticipated amendment will also concern restrictions Obama imposed in late 2016 against the Russian citizens Washington suspected of cyberattacks against US political institutions.

If the House of Representatives adopts the bill and the President signs it will be possible to remove sanctions only by adopting another law. The US administration won’t have the right to lift sanctions independently.

The House of Representatives of the US Congress is expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday.