"[Sanctions against the NATO ally during the economic downturn] are nothing but a deliberate termination of the transatlantic partnership," Schroeder was quoted as saying by the Handelsblatt business newspaper.
The politician added that the sanctions were "an attack on the European economy, an unacceptable encroachment on the EU sovereignty and the energy security of Western Europe."
According to the former chancellor, the financial consequences of the sanctions would be extremely serious, as they would jeopardize investments of 12 billion euros ($13.5 billion) in European infrastructure, and European consumers would face additional costs of four billion euros per year.
"More than 120 companies in the field of shipbuilding, engineering, environmental protection and security, which are involved or have been engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project, are directly affected ... Each of these companies represent European jobs that are at risk," Schroeder added.
In early June, US senators introduced a bipartisan bill that would tighten sanctions on Nord Stream 2 to potentially hit numerous European companies providing insurance, port and licensing services, banks and governmental organizations that work for the project. According to media reports, Germany is putting together a set of countermeasures to mobilize a coordinated EU-wide response.
The Nord Stream 2 project aims to lay a 745-mile-long twin pipeline that will carry up to 55 billion cubic meters (1.942 trillion cubic feet) of gas per year from Russia to Germany, passing through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden. On December 20, US President Donald Trump signed the 2020 defense budget, which included sanctions against the project, forcing Allseas, a Swiss company responsible for laying down the pipes, to withdraw from the project with just 100 miles left to lay. Russia is now finishing the pipeline on its own.