Experts slam Berlin’s reluctance to forgo Russian energy

(EurActiv, 21 Mar 2022) As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its fourth week, Germany has become the focal point of a debate about whether Europe should continue financing Russian military operations by purchasing energy from Moscow.

No European country imports more energy from Russia than Germany. At least €50 million flows from Germany to Russia daily in exchange for gas, oil and coal. As energy prices continue to rise, experts have estimated the total spend by Europe in Russia at €1 billion per day.

But to go without Russian energy means a “3% to 5% loss of GDP”, translating into “some people no longer earning any money at all. And these some people are very, very many,” German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck explained on public radio DLF on 19 March.

“If certain sectors, such as the chemical industry or steelworks, can no longer produce, entire supply chains will break down. Not only are these sectors affected, but the entire production process breaks down in many places,” he added during the interview, prompting fierce reactions from German experts.

The argument that some workers would be out of a job is similar to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, responded influential economist Ruediger Bachmann. Then, the government had shifted the burden from the few to the many with successful policies like the short-time work scheme, he added.

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EurActiv, 21 Mar 2022: Experts slam Berlin’s reluctance to forgo Russian energy