The Bundestag: The sanctions against Nord Stream are not clearly in violation of international law

The Scientific Services Committee of the German Bundestag does not believe that the US sanctions imposed on German companies in connection with the “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline project represent a clear violation of international law.

The committee’s report, which was commissioned by the deputy of the Left Party, Sevim Dagdalen, and which was seen by the German News Agency (DPA) on Monday, states that the United States has always acted moderately and relied on protecting national security interests and negative effects on its economy.

“International law can do little to counter the imposition of extraterritorial sanctions”.

US President Donald Trump has criticized the near-completion gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany across the Baltic Sea for years, and has been addressing the project with sanctions. 

Trump accuses Germany of letting the United States protect it from Russia militarily, while at the same time providing Moscow with high revenues from gas exports. 

However, Trump’s critics argue that he is only interested in selling US LNG in Europe.

There is a legal debate about the so-called extraterritorial sanctions, such as those imposed on “Nord Stream 2”, because they do not serve to protect the region or the citizens or state companies that impose the sanctions directly.

Last August, US senators issued, for the first time, concrete threats to impose sanctions on a German company, the operator of the port of Mukran on the German island of Rugen. 

The port is the most important transit point for the construction of the pipeline, which was suspended in December 2019 due to US sanctions.

The German government rejects extraterritorial sanctions, and the European Union Commission has issued statements stating that such penalties are inconsistent with international law. 

However, German Parliament experts believe that the arguments of the United States cannot be completely ruled out, as the report states: “Even if the Nord Stream 2 project does not have a direct impact on the national security of the United States, indirect effects cannot be excluded… according to the exclusion clauses in the treaty.

Friendship and WTO regulations, the United States of America is free to independently define its national security concerns”.