Berlin must ensure the nation has a continuous energy supply through winter, says Annalena Baerbock
Germany cannot cut off all energy imports from Russia, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock admitted on Tuesday. Berlin must ensure the country will receive a steady energy supply if it hopes to make it through the winter, she said.
The German government does not want “repeat mistakes” of the past and “Making promises we can’t keep” the minister told a conference of heads of German diplomatic missions, commenting on the cabinet’s continued opposition to a total embargo on Russian oil and gas.
We cannot give up Russia’s fossil fuels overnight.
Baerbock defended Germany’s decision to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies “step by step,” despite criticism from others in Europe. Strategy, however, still costs Berlin “a crazy amount of money” provided by taxpayers.
The minister said that Germany had “never” did receive cheap Russian gas anyway, arguing that it had paid the price with its own security by allowing Russian energy giant Gazprom to acquire infrastructure on its territory.
“The price [of gas] could have been favorable at times,” she admitted, but the cheap prices led to Berlin “blind addiction” on Moscow, which Baerbock now considers a “security risk.”
“We paid for every cubic meter of Russian gas double and triple with our national security,” she says.
The foreign minister also accused Russia of trying to use this dependency to open “blackmail” Germany to lift sanctions imposed on Russia for its ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
Other EU leaders had previously accused Russia of blackmailing the bloc with its oil and gas exports, while blaming Moscow for soaring energy prices. The Kremlin dismissed the allegations, blaming EU policies.
Gazprom “spent decades” earning its reputation as a reliable natural gas supplier and has so far done nothing to tarnish it, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last Sunday, attributing the ongoing energy crisis in Europe to “absurd” decisions of European politicians.
Since the beginning of the Russian military offensive against Ukraine at the end of February, gasoline prices have reached record highs in Europe, driving up headline inflation. In late July, EU members agreed on a plan to cut their gas consumption by 15% over the next few months to boost the bloc’s energy security as it seeks to get rid of its dependence on Russian energy.
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