A potential cutting-off of Russian gas would lead to recession and “chaotic conditions”, various German officials are now warning.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning that Germany’s addiction to Russian gas would have extremely negative long-term consequences appears to have been proven prophetic, with officials in the country now warning of “chaotic conditions” and severe economic recession should they lose access to Moscow’s supply.
The warnings come as Germany starts to fret that when the Kremlin turns off gas on July 11th to do annual maintenance on the gas line between the two countries, Russian authorities will use technical problems as an excuse so as not to turn the supply back on again — a move that would reportedly see the German economy tank by around €200 billion within six months.
According to various European and German news sources, the country’s officials are now firefighting regarding the possible worsening of the already severe gas crisis which has seen one major energy company enter existential financial difficulty.
In response to the financial problems such a loss of gas will cause, POLITICO is reporting that the German government is now looking to pass emergency legislation imposing a financial levy on all energy companies — whether they are involved in Russian gas imports or not — to split the costs of rising prices in an attempt to keep infrastructure afloat.
Such a move would be an alternative to simply passing on the costs of higher energy to the end-user, a move that some in the industry warn would simply result in people being unable to pay their bills, subsequently causing local energy suppliers to collapse.
“That could lead to chaotic conditions on the energy market, which would definitely get the entire energy industry in trouble and would endanger the security of supply from the ground up,” Der Spiegel reports Ingbert Liebing, general manager of the Association of Municipal Companies, as saying.
Issues surrounding the purely economic elements of the crisis are far from the only ones to arise, with warnings that a sudden loss of gas in the country would be extremely difficult to reverse on the local level due to safety mechanisms within home boilers.
According to a separate Der Spiegel report, a loss of supply would result in a fuse being triggered in hundreds of thousands of boilers across the country — fuses that could only be reset by trained professionals, a process that would take a significant amount of time thanks to strain such an event would put on tradesmEn in the sector.
“The moment the pressure in the gas network in a region falls below a certain minimum, the fuse in hundreds of thousands of gas boilers would suddenly kick in,” Klaus Müller, who serves as President of the Federal Network Agency, is reported by the publication as saying.
“They would have to be manually activated again by trained specialists if gas was available in the region again,” he continued. “Nobody can want such a scenario because it would take a very long time to restore the gas supply.”
As a result, Müller reportedly emphasised that if the supply of gas were threatened, German industry would need to be cut off first to ensure local supplies did not drop below the fuse threshold.
Such a prioritisation would likely be extremely painful for the German economy, however, with economic and climate minister Robert Habeck warning that cutting off such industry — something he himself has committed to do in the event of the Kremlin cutting Germany off from its supply of gas — would have massive knock-on effects for average Germans.
“Companies would have to stop production, lay off their workers, supply chains would collapse, people would go into debt to pay their heating bills, that people would become poorer,” Habeck said regarding the eventuality.