December 6, 2022

Wire Service Canada

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Berlin and Europe fear a complete halt to Russian gas – International

Fear of a complete cut-off in Russian gas supplies is growing across Europe and especially in Germany, where the coming winter is believed to be “cold, dark and expensive,” says the weekend edition of the Handelsblatt business newspaper, commemorating the Brandenburg Gate bluish due to ice.

Public attention, on the eve of the start of maintenance work on Nord Stream 1, is focused on what will happen within 10 days, when the pipeline is expected to return to normal operation; However, the option for Moscow to take this opportunity as an excuse to permanently shut down supplies is “most likely”, according to French Minister Bruno Le Maire, who urges Europe to “prepare”. Even our German colleague Robert Habeck does not hide any secret in believing that a complete stop is possible starting today.

Deputy Schulz repeatedly referred to what now appears to be a Russian “behavioural pattern” of impoverishment of storage, given that Gazprom has already cut gas shipments by 60% citing technical problems with spare parts for gas turbines, which, however, in the Berlin analysis It would never justify a drastic downsizing like the one that has been implemented. Yesterday’s news came, that the pieces blocked in Canada “due to sanctions” will soon be returned to Germany, exposing Putin’s game.

In this context of immense uncertainty, the Germans view the power situation with apprehension, and the tones become increasingly turbulent. The problem affects the industry first of all, but despite the support measures already taken by the government, even citizens do not feel safe: not everyone will be able to afford the exorbitant price increases, already announced by Schulze’s deputy. And local administrations are already working hard to come up with contingency plans: according to Bild am Sonntag, some centers like Ludwigshafen are planning, for example, “heat islands”, i.e. hot centers for those who can’t pay the bills, in gyms and rooms designated yet For events or for a vaccination campaign against viruses.

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There are fears of increases in energy costs of more than 2-300 euros per year for families, and the weaker sections of the population may not be able to support them. Environment Minister Lemke asked from the pages of the same tabloid that no light or gas should be turned off for those who would not be able to pay immediately.

On the other hand, companies are preparing for an emergency that concerns them first: DIHK (German Industry and Unioncamere) states that in the event of a complete cutoff of Russian gas (on which Germany depends for 35% of its needs). needs) “Many factories have to stop production and the country cannot avoid recession.” The Federal Republic will also face a kind of “critical test” for Habek, according to which “if one were to arrive at a nightmare scenario of a serious gas shortage, a very bitter debate would be ignited, bringing a situation on edge, on the verge of rupture, because the country And the population did not live long.”

Then DIW President Marcel Fratzcher had to warn: “The current crisis could be the last straw capable of breaking the vessel of the growing social division.” The economist, who has always held Keynes’ positions, urged policy not to “try to keep the situation calm with one-off placebo measures”, urging them to raise wages and focus on permanent social measures.
A stark contrast to Liberal Finance Minister Christian Lindner, who predicted a big budget to comply with the famous debt brake, which has been blown in recent years by the pandemic.

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