The portal Business Insider explained how Moscow could respond to U.S. sanctions, taking advantage of its leverage over the EU.
“If the new Russia will take retaliatory measures against the U.S., the best option to do this is through her energy supplies, especially those that have in Europe,” the authors write.
The article presents detailed statistics on the European oil and gas imports. More than 50% of the consumed energy the EU buys from other countries. On the 50% account for 90% of oil and 66% of natural gas — more than in any other region of the world.
While some European countries more dependent on energy than others. A number of them import more than 30% of its energy. Germany, the largest EU economy, imports more than 60%, France, third economy in the Union, about 45%.
In Eastern Europe, the dependence of some countries is even higher. Hungary, Austria and Slovakia imports about 60-65% of the energy. Lithuania — 75%, Latvia — 45%, Bulgaria — 37%, Czech Republic — 32%, Estonia — 19%, Romania — 17%. “Most of this energy comes from Russia,” write the authors.
“In fact, the share of Russia have over 70% of oil and gas used in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia and Finland. It delivers 62% natural gas and 56% of oil used in the Czech Republic and 53% natural gas and 90% of the oil used in Poland” , — stated in the article.
Russia deliberately uses this relationship for their own purposes — in particular, economic pressure on countries that may pose a threat, the authors write on.
Against this background, the EU countries differently build their foreign policy. So, France, which is most of the oil and gas gets from Africa and the Middle East, can afford a more aggressive approach toward Moscow. Germany — no, because more than half of its natural gas and 35% of the oil it receives from Russia.
“In this regard, Berlin would have to carefully balance between his main benefactor in the security sphere, the United States, and its main energy supplier, Russia,” conclude the authors.
In late July, the U.S. Congress passed a bill on new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. On 2 August it was signed by Donald trump. The document spelled out a number of restrictive measures against the Russian economy, and against European companies involved in the Russian oil and gas projects —in particular, in the construction of the pipeline “Nord stream-2”.
Even before the signing of the law trump Vladimir Putin announced the reduction of the us diplomatic mission in Russia up to 455 people, as well as banning U.S. Embassy in Moscow to use the dacha in Serebryany Bor and warehouse on Road street.
Sanctions severely criticized in the European Union — the Minister of economy of Germany, Brigitte zypris called the bill a violation of international law. In turn, the Association of European businesses (AEB) has urged the heads of state and government of the EU, USA and Russia to develop such a line of conduct that would ” separate business from politics.”