Brussels has raised concerns over Washington’s intention to step up sanctions on Russia, urging coordination with the G7 partners.

The European Commission fears sanctions may hit European companies that are upgrading pipeline distribution systems in Russia,  as well as railway, shipping, mining, and financial companies. Brussels is ready to retaliate in kind “within days” if European companies are targeted, according to a Commission meeting note cited by the Financial Times.

The concerns were raised on Sunday, as there is emerging bipartisan support in the Congress and the Senate for renewed US sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and Russia. An earlier version of the bill concerned only Iran and North Korea.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the White House said President Trump would be willing to sign such a bill. However, President Trump’s new communications director Antony Scaramucci told CNN that the decision has not yet been signed off. “We support where the legislation is now,” said Ms Huckabee Sanders to ABC news.

Perhaps more significantly, the lifting of the sanctions regimes will no longer be the prerogative of the President. The bill envisages that the Congress and the Senate must approve, or not, the lifting of sanctions against Russia, Iran or North Korea within 30 days. Given the high polarization of the House, this could become a difficult process.

It is unclear whether EU member states such as the UK, the Baltic States, Poland, or Hungary are willing to sign off retaliatory measures towards Washington.

But Russia is already playing for EU support. On Monday, the Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko told TASS that new sanctions would be designed to squeeze Russia out of the European energy market.

The Kremlin warned that new sanctions would hurt investment involving European partners, with Dimitri Peskov making specific reference to Nord Stream II, a high stakes project for Germany that has at different times raised eyebrows in the Baltic States, Poland, and Sweden.

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