“Their actions resemble those of a mafia,” Ernst told RT Deutsch on Wednesday, speaking about the renewed threats of US sanctions against the European companies involved in the project. Ernst chairs the Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy at the German parliament, the Bundestag.

Just like mafia members exporting ‘protection money’ from businesses, the US comes to Europe claiming it seeks to protect its allies from the Russians but threatens European companies with economic downfall in case such “protection offer” is rejected, the parliamentarian said. On Thursday, it emerged that the US pressure forced a Norwegian-German risk management and quality assurance company to quit. 

“It’s not about our security; it’s about Americans seeking to sell us their liquified gas, their slate gas hat harms the environment… and is more expensive,” Ernst, a member of the Left Party, said.

We cannot let another state to dictate us how we should manage our energy supply.

The lawmaker added that both his fellow MPs and the German government considers the US actions a violation of the international law. Merely voicing a protest against such tactics would not be enough, as Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to be an isolated case of this behavior, Ernst believes, saying that Washington would hardly stop at that and would simply find new reasons to continue slapping Europe with sanctions.

The US “does not see its partners as partners but… as unwelcome competitors or as servants,” the parliamentarian said, adding that the European companies trading with China and particularly supplying chips to the Chinese tech giant Huawei are likely to be next on America’s list. 

“It’s not just about gas, it’s about defending Europe’s sovereignty,” Ernst said, calling on the European leaders to respond to the US pressure with sanctions of their own. The MP particularly suggested imposing punitive tolls on the US gas imports to Europe as a way to stop America’s campaign against Nord Stream 2. 

Slapping specific US officials responsible for the sanctions policy with personal restrictions could be another way out, the lawmaker believes. Strengthening the European financial system and ditching dollar transactions in the long run could also give Europe independence it needs, he added. 

“This must be stopped once and for all. We cannot stand anything like this,” he said. The only way forward for Europe is to make Washington recognize Europe’s “independence” and stop treating it “like a colony,” Ernst believes. “Everything else leads either into a dead end or into submission.” 

The Russian gas pipeline project that involves dozens of European companies has been a source of irritation for Washington for quite some time. Following repeated attempts to dissuade European companies from participating in the project, the US eventually included it into an act supposedly aimed at protecting Europe’s energy independence. What is apparently does, though, is making any company participating in the project subject to the US sanctions.

Now, more than 120 enterprises face America’s punitive measures over their involvement into the Nord Steam 2 construction as the US still hopes to boost its own liquified gas sales to the European “partners.” Meanwhile, the construction continues, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin said in January that the pipeline would be finished either by the end of 2020 or in the first quarter of the next year.

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