Brussels fears effort to punish Moscow’s election meddling will hurt energy companies
4 HOURS AGO by: Jim Brunsden in Brussels and Courtney Weaver in Washington
Brussels is preparing to retaliate against the US if Washington pushes ahead with far-reaching new sanctions on Russia that hit European companies.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, has called for an urgent review of how Brussels should respond if Europe’s energy companies or other businesses are targeted by sanctions under discussion in the US Congress.
According to a note prepared for a commission meeting on Wednesday, and seen by the Financial Times, Brussels “should stand ready to act within days” if the US measures were “adopted without EU concerns being taken into account”.
US lawmakers reached an agreement at the weekend for sweeping new sanctions to be levied against Russia as Washington seeks to punish Moscow for its reported meddling in last year’s election.
The House is expected to vote on Tuesday on the legislation, which will be imposed not just on Russia but also on Iran and North Korea. An earlier version of the bill was passed in the House by a vote of 97-2 in June. However, that legislation concerned only Moscow and Tehran, forcing legislators to postpone the bill’s passage as they negotiated the additional sanctions for Pyongyang.
A presidential veto on the Russian sanctions bill would encounter strong resistance in Congress, with Republicans and Democrats both backing the legislation in equal measure, particularly as questions remain about interaction between top Trump aides and Moscow during last year’s election.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, announced on Sunday that the administration supported the new language of the bill and suggested that President Donald Trump would sign it.
“The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place,” Ms Huckabee Sanders told ABC News. “The original piece of legislation was poorly written but we were able to work with the House and Senate. And the administration is happy with the ability to do that and make those changes that were necessary. And we support where the legislation is now.”
“The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place,” Ms Huckabee Sanders told ABC News.