Germany is confident it can meet its energy needs even without Russian gas, given the current dispute over the self-declared, Moscow-supported independent provinces in Ukraine. The statement is from Germany's Economy minister Robert Habeck when he was asked on public radio on the situation
Yes, Germany can meet its needs, and anticipated consumers would receive assistance should energy prices balloon.
Habeck, a member of the governing coalition partner Greens, acknowledged that if Germany were to cut off supplies of Russian gas, there would be a gap initially that would certainly drive prices higher.
Habeck added, As far as the short-term price increases and the burden on consumers and businesses are concerned, we will provide relief elsewhere.
Habeck said Germany could meet its energy needs and have the gap in supplies compensated with other energy sources and suppliers.
The minister suggested the government could lower the so-called green tax placed on gas to help finance the transition to renewable energy, though he also said the government has outlined plans to accelerate the push towards renewable energy. That push could feel a budget squeeze if gas prices soar.
Why is Habeck concerned about Germany going without Russian gas?
Because Chancellor Olaf Scholz halted the approval process for Nord Stream 2 pipeline in response to President Vladimir Putin's decision to recognize the two eastern Ukrainian territories of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent. He also ordered the Economy Ministry to reexamine Nord Stream 2 strategy given the newly emerging security picture in Europe.
The completed but never certified Nord Stream 2 pipeline would have increased Germany's dependency on Russian gas and was projected to account for nearly 70% of total deliveries of gas to Germany.
Scholz, along with his predecessor, has consistently supported Nord Stream 2, arguing the pipeline project was not political in nature. United States policy has been to systematically reject the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.