Germany expressed continued concern about U.S. moves to tighten sanctions against Russia, while saying changes made in the bill passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday are steps in the right direction.
Germany is holding to its position that sanctions rules mustn’t be used as a tool to influence specific industries, Martin Schaefer, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in Berlin on Wednesday. Still, Germany welcomed the latest legislative proposals calling for U.S. coordination with European Union allies before sanctions are applied, Schaefer said.
“We have taken a big step forward, and I believe we have been able to convince our partners in Washington to act together in the government and in the legislature,” Schaefer told reporters. “We’re happy to cooperate with the Americans, also on sanctions against North Korea, against Russia, if possible even against Iran, but please in agreement and together.”
The U.S. House voted to strengthen sanctions against Russia that could jeopardize Germany’s gas supply. The measure passed the House Tuesday on a vote of 419-3. The bill, which also would impose new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, now goes to the Senate, where members of both parties have spoken in favor of revisions made to a version of the legislation they passed last month.
“The agreement between the two parties from Saturday was preceded by protracted negotiations and in this context both we and the EU Commission have expressed concerns that EU companies could be disadvantaged as part of this legislation,” said Ulrike Demmer, a spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It remains important that the U.S. and Europe continue to closely coordinate their sanctions policy with Russia.”