The Zurich newspaper NZZ described the recent panicked attempts by numerous European politicians, including the Austrian Energy Minister Eleonore “Jetset” Gewessler, to persuade the gas emirate of Qatar to supply more gas in the short term and less from Russia as “Waterloo in the desert sand”. to be dependent. Unfortunately, this will simply not work.
«Most of our capacities are tied up in long-term contracts in Asia. Unfortunately, that doesn’t allow us to divert larger quantities in the short term and divert them to Europe,” the sheikdom’s top gas seller told the various petitioners from Europe in a very unequivocal manner.
Germany in particular, but also Austria – unlike the British, the French, but also little Lithuania – must continue to try to keep Putin halfway happy if they don’t want to risk their entire national economy collapsing completely after a Russian delivery stop, which in would be entirely possible in this scenario.
We are not talking about bad luck or force majeure here, but about a very conscious decision by the Germans and Austrians, unlike other Europeans, not to buy from all possible corners of the world, but to put (almost) everything on one card – the Russian one . Nobody forced us to do this.
In a way, the Ukrainians are now paying the price for this appalling mistake with their lives because they cannot put enough pressure on Russia – but also Germans and Austrians with the loss of their dignity by putting themselves in this impossible situation.
How could that happen? For a very simple reason: Gas from Russia was and is cheaper than other sources, which has given German and Austrian industry a competitive advantage over countries that pay attention to diversifying their suppliers.
Companies, shareholders, but also workers and employees benefited from this, and the state through taxes – they all reaped the benefits of cheap Russian gas. And some in high positions probably also through financial donations of a discrete nature. It’s basically that simple.
And because the Soviet Union and later Russia had always reliably kept to their obligations and are still doing so, the risk of not being supplied did not seem to exist.
Apparently no one thought of taking a risk; not even those overly clever journalists who are now rightly criticizing this policy: of the risk that one day it might be necessary to stop gas supplies from Russia in order not to use our money to finance an incipient genocide.
That is exactly the case at the moment.
And that’s why a crucial question now arises: why, quite obviously, have neither politicians nor the economy identified this risk in good time, examined it and thought up ways to at least reduce it? Other EU countries have also succeeded in doing this, for example with the help of nuclear power plants (France) or the construction of liquid gas terminals (Baltic States).
Because at the latest since Putin’s annexation of Crimea seven years ago, this problem should have appeared on the radar of those responsible. There have been enough warners since then – but apparently nobody wanted to see the iceberg we were heading for.
There is probably no single, all-encompassing answer to the question of how, for God’s sake, this could have happened. But one thing is already obvious: the intellectual, character and human qualifications of those who ultimately have to make these decisions have not really impressed for many years, neither on the European level nor in the European leading power Germany or in this country.
The German comedian and MEP Martin Sonneborn described what Brussels is about when the current EU Commission was installed:
Unfortunately, there is nothing to add to this, except perhaps that Ms. Lagarde, as head of the ECB, is now successfully working to completely ruin the euro through inflation, Mr. Borrell, as foreign affairs representative, uses the war as an opportunity to ban media in the EU that present “wrong” views spread, Ursula von der Leyen is responsible for the very late ordering of corona vaccines and Council President Charles Michel as “The untalented Monsieur Michel” (“Wirtschaftswoche”) staggers from mishap to mishap.
It was not to be expected that such a group of cucumbers prompted the EU members to pursue a sensible and responsible energy policy in good time.
A gross mistake, which Germany, as the continent’s economic supremacy, amplified enormously through a political multifunctional failure, from the wrongly planned euro rescue to the fetishization of the global climate and a grotesque migration policy to a disastrous energy policy, Mutti Merkel and her henchmen screwed up roughly everything you can screw up.
Which is now slowly being admitted. German Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) demands that the Russia policy of recent years must be “critically questioned.” My adherence to Nord Stream 2 was clearly a mistake. We stuck to bridges that Russia no longer believed in and that our partners warned us about,” said the German Federal President and former Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier (SPD) recently in Berlin. And sounds a bit like the chancellor at the time after the onslaught of migrants in 2015/16, when she just snapped “now they’re here”.
Ok, and then there’s Austria, where a former Global 2000 activist can, of all things, become energy minister, which is more likely in moderately civilized countries than practical joke would understand.
Actually, in view of this political panorama, it is not surprising that we got into the unfortunate position we are in vis-à-vis Russia – but that we still have gas coming out of the tap at all. Unfortunately, that is no consolation, especially not for the Ukrainians, who need our political help.