The throttled gas supplies from Russia are an "economic attack on us," says Economics Minister Habeck. President Putin wants to get into the minds of Europeans: the rising prices aroused fears and thus eroded solidarity with Ukraine.
Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck described the throttling of gas supplies by Russia last week as an economic attack. The reduction in gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is "an economic attack on us," said the Green politician at a conference of the Federation of German Industry (BDI) in Berlin.
The "attack" works, just as with the previous throttling of deliveries to Poland, Bulgaria or Denmark, according to the model "to reduce the quantity, to push up the prices in order to trigger a debate in Europe and in Germany about poverty and about fear," said Habeck.
Material needs, high energy prices and inflation aroused fears among people: "Fear of poverty, fear of loss of prosperity, fear of not being able to keep what they have built up over a long life," explained Habeck. The Vice Chancellor warned that this would open up space for populism.
Putin's goal is to start a discussion about whether Russia shouldn't be allowed to operate in Ukraine. "This strategy must not be successful," said Habeck. So it's not just about solidarity with Ukraine. "It's also about defending our understanding of political culture, an open society, a free market economy."
Habeck had presented a package of measures to reduce gas consumption in industry. This also includes turning more climate-damaging coal into electricity again. This is "very bad news," said Habeck. However, the measure is necessary to fill up the gas storage tanks. Germany cannot go into the winter with half-full storage facilities. If Russia then turns off the gas tap, there will be talk of a serious economic crisis that will hit Germany.