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An EU-US Sanctions War May Be Coming

Posted on 1st August 2017

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This story from the BBC has me worried. The US House of Representatives has voted to impose more sanctions against Russia, although it still needs to be passed by the Senate, and signed by the President (rumours are that he will sign the bill if passed by both houses of Congress).

The EU is concerned about the impact on future energy supplies from Russia, and the negative effects on EU firms involved on building the necessary pipelines and other infrastructure. The new sanctions will limit or completely block access to US banking services for those firms, and could also lose them future business in the USA.

As a result, the EU Commission (President Jean-Claude Juncker) has warned that if such negative side-effects hit EU business or EU energy security, the EU will retaliate.

Jean-Claude Juncker did say that "The EU is fully committed to the Russia sanctions regime", but that means UN sanctions, and not "unilateral" actions by the US or others.

Any retaliation by the EU will likely involve sanctions against US businesses, and will probably lead to an escalating tit-for-tat sanctions war. So much for any "special relationship". This would have huge fall-out in the EU, The USA, and indeed all across the world; it could trigger the next global financial crisis, plunging the world into a recession.

Just for a change, this crisis was not cause by President Donald Trump, but by the US Congress acting on their own initiative; The Donald is trying to build better relations with Russia, which may or may not be a good thing.