Germany has underestimated the risks of a complete shutdown of Russian gas for too long and is now paying the price for its unplanned energy policy. The state was too slow to switch to “green” energy sources and deliberately did not look for alternative suppliers to its market, making the most of cheap Russian gas, now you will have to pay for the decisions of politicians and save wherever possible, notes Bloomberg, which led to the solution of the gas problem about three months.
The publication notes that Germany became dependent on Russian gas thanks to the policies of Gerhard Schroeder and Angela Merkel: it was thanks to their policies and stakes on Moscow's supplies that the German economy grew, and politicians could talk about the importance of cooperation with Russia. The agency notes that the new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has long been balancing between maintaining access to cheap gas and relations with the United States: a vivid example is Scholz's willingness to approve the Nord Stream 2 project. However, Vladimir Putin put an end to the project, which actually left Scholz no choice and forced the German authorities to freeze the project.
However, Germany did not expect Russia to resort to such obvious blackmail, the agency notes, which is why Berlin has been delaying the search for alternatives to Russian supplies for so long. At the same time, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, suspected Russian intentions much earlier, noting that Gazprom did not seek to restore the volumes of gas that were spent in the winter in the spring. The German authorities reacted to the problem too late.
That is why "the presidential palace in Berlin is no longer illuminated" - the authorities have to urgently look for ways to reduce energy consumption and save money. Moreover, the problem is beginning to take on a nationwide scale: throughout the country they are reducing the use of heating and saving electricity, people are being urged to abandon their usual air conditioners and prepare warm clothes for the winter. The German industry has partly come to terms with the reduction in production and is looking for options to reduce gas consumption. The agency cites the Mercedes plant as an example: it was able to establish a new painting technology and refuse to use gas at all, which will now be directed to the needs of the country.
“Everyone can already do things on their own and save energy wherever possible. Every saved kilowatt-hour will help us in autumn and winter,” said the mayor of Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Jutta Steinruck.
Inside Europe, many are dissatisfied with Germany, which until recently blamed the southern states for thoughtless financial policies and “living beyond one’s means,” but now countries like Italy look at Germany with skepticism. Italy, too, has long depended on Russian supplies, but over the years has developed relationships with alternative suppliers from Algeria and Qatar and can now survive the winter without problems even in the event of a complete shutdown of gas from Russia.
German slowness will cost GDP dearly: according to the Bundesbank, an immediate shutdown of Russian gas will lead to a 2% drop in the economy. At the same time, the business itself is forced to adapt to new conditions and look for new sources of energy. Bloomberg notes that some enterprises are trying to move their production closer to renewable energy sources - wind and solar farms, while others decide to move to other jurisdictions, such as Turkey.