In a harshly-worded statement, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, lashed out at Washington saying “America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”
He added 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.”
The EU’s legislative body also argued the sanctions “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,” according to a press release.
The sanctions bill has also caused a stir in Berlin. “This concerns not only German industry … Sanctions against Russia should not become a tool of industrial policy [pursued] in the US interests,” German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a news conference on Wednesday, as cited by Sputnik.
Speaking at the same briefing, government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer added Berlin believes “the European industry should not become the target of US sanctions.” She noted it was crucial “to continue close coordination between the US and the EU in the sanctions policy toward Russia.”
France has said the sanctions contradict international law due to extra-territorial reach, Reuters and Russian news agencies reported.
The legislation will allow measures against European citizens and companies in situations which are unrelated to the US, Agnès Romatet-Espagne, a spokeswoman for France’s Foreign Ministry, said, as cited by Russian news agencies.
French and EU laws would need to be adjusted in response to the sanctions, she said, adding that discussions should be held at European Union level.
The officials were commenting on the latest package of anti-Russian sanctions voted into law on Tuesday by the US House of Representatives. The restrictions, which come as part of a bill imposing sweeping sanctions also on Iran and North Korea, target Russia’s major defense, mining, shipping and railway industries.
They also include penalties on European companies engaged in joint EU-Russia energy projects, with the Gazprom-run Nord Stream 2 flagship pipeline being the most probable target of renewed sanctions.