EU: Ready to use blocking statute on US sanctions

EU: Ready to use blocking statute on US sanctions
ID : N-1789 Date : 2018/05/17 - 11:46

(Persia Digest) – Bloomberg writes on 16 May 2018 the European Union warned that ending the Iran nuclear deal would be a “major threat” to security in the Middle East a the bloc prepared measures to protect it companies if the Trump administration re-imposes sanctions following the US’s withdrawal from the agreement.

On trade, all agreed to back the European Commission’s insistence that it won’t negotiate unless the U.S. grants a permanent exemption from tariffs on steel and aluminum, according to an EU official present. Tusk told leaders that the EU will continue fighting for the rules-based international system, despite recent U.S. decisions on climate change, tariffs and on Iran, the official said.

Europe’s mood is shifting from shock at Trump’s “America First” agenda to a resolve to close ranks and assert its own position. Trans-Atlantic tensions came to a head with the U.S. president’s decision announced last week to pull out of the landmark Iran nuclear accord which the remaining signatories -- Russia, China, France, Germany and the U.K., along with the EU -- all say is working.

“We don’t want to see this agreement destroyed because it is important for maintaining peace in the region and also for peace I the whole world,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday. “Ending this agreement would be a major threat to security in this region.”

The 28-nation EU is scrambling to contain the fallout from President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 accord on Iran’s nuclear activities. The Brussels-based commission, the EU executive, on Wednesday discussed possible ways to deal with a U.S. exit from the deal, including a so-called blocking statute, which could shield European companies doing business with Iran. EU leaders will continue the discussion at a dinner in Bulgaria.

“We would like this evening to be able to agree on a joint approach, based on consensus among us all, with regard to our relations with the United States and its relations with Iran,” said Juncker, who will attend the meeting in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

Stuck Between Trump and Iran, EU Lacks Plan for Nuclear Deal

“We have the means and resources and we will use them. But let’s not kid ourselves -- they are only limited resources,” Juncker said. “But we will make full use of all the means that are available to us.”

The commission “discussed concrete, practical solutions to make sure the European Union can continue to live up to its commitments under the deal and protect our economic operations,” European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters earlier in Brussels. “We did discuss the possibility of applying our blocking statute. We are ready to do so if needed,” he said.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of Germany, Britain and France met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Tuesday evening in Brussels. After the meeting, Mogherini said that technical experts were commissioned to identify ways to maintain oil shipments, avert transport disruptions, keep open banking channels and protect European companies doing business with Iran.

“We are exploring options to protect the economic operators from the extra-territorial effects of re-imposed sanctions,” Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for Mogherini, told reporters earlier on Tuesday. “We will work with all the partners to address possible negative impacts on economic operators of any re-imposition of sanctions by the U.S.”

EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete is due to visit Tehran on May 19-20 to discuss energy cooperation between Iran and the EU, Kocijancic said.

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