New Labour proposal for “full access” to EU internal market

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is unwilling to support EU companies doing business in Iran, Reuters reports. This comes as the European Commission has proposed the EIB should finance EU-Iran trade and investment, following the US’ decision to reintroduce sanctions on economic relations with the country. An unnamed diplomat says, “The bank is unhappy with the Commission proposal because the bank raises funds on US markets [from which it may be excluded if it defies US sanctions],” with another diplomat adding, “The bank is well aware of the dangers of US sanctions on its own operation.”

Meanwhile, an EU official claims that “the US is pushing pressure on the bank not to go ahead and invest in Iran, warning of the consequences.” Former US State Department official Richard Nephew also warned, “Europe and the United States are so integrated that it is implausible that the Europeans will be able to use current institutions to engage in transactions with Iran… If they really want to do this, then they’ll need to set up siloed institutions that have no US exposure and then to protect those institutions with the threat of retaliation against the United States.”

Elsewhere, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said in an interview to CNN that US tariffs are “deeply unjustified, adding that the EU will be “working with many other countries, because this is not only the EU against the US…We need to show that if you violate the rules of the international trade system, it has consequences.”

Separately, in an op-ed in French newspaper Le Figaro, France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire writes that unilateralism “will lead to nowhere else except to confrontation,” adding that the EU will respond to tariffs “with strength and firmness” in order to “affirm its economic sovereignty.” Le Maire concludes, “If the US wants to renew the dialogue with its historical allies, they should make the first step.”

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