Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo might have spilled the beans about the duration of Europe's energy crisis. He told reporters Monday, "the next 5 to 10 winters will be difficult." "The development of the situation is very difficult throughout Europe," De Croo told Belgium broadcaster VRT.
"In a number of sectors, it is really difficult to deal with those high energy prices. We are monitoring this closely, but we must be transparent: the coming months will be difficult, the coming winters will be difficult," he said.
The prime minister's comments suggest replacing Russian natural gas imports could take years, exerting further economic doom on the region's economy in the form of energy hyperinflation.
Europe faces a historic energy crisis exacerbated by Russia's war in Ukraine (and Western sanctions that have backfired). The continent heavily relies on Russia for its energy needs, importing about 40% of NatGas. At just 20% capacity with risks of going to zero next month, Russian supplies via Gazprom's Nord Stream 1 have sent NatGas and power prices to record highs this week.
European NatGas prices soared to a record high of 277 euros per megawatt-hour on Monday, about 15 times the average summertime price. Leon Izbicki, a commodity analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd., told Bloomberg if NS1 flows come to a halt in September, prices could rise to 400 euros per megawatt-hour.
Bloomberg's commodities reporter Javier Blas tweeted a map of day-ahead electricity prices across Europe. He called the prices "eye-watering, with lots of countries setting record highs for today."
The shift from Russian NatGas supplies has backfired for the 19-nation eurozone. Germany, Europe's largest economy, could be headed for a recession that will bring down the rest of the continent.
Related: Russia Considers Deeper Oil Discounts To Counter U.S. Price Cap Push
De Croo said Belgium and the eurozone must "support each other in these difficult times."
Europe's dark winter could be a yearly occurrence throughout this decade if the prime minister is right. The widely optimistic idea that the bloc could replace all Russian Natgas imports this year was a farce, and now European households must pay exorbitantly high power costs, forcing millions into energy poverty.
Even though Germany admitted that it was a terrible mistake to become so dependent on cheap Russian energy -- like a drug -- how long does it take for Berlin to go back to its dealer [Moscow] for resupplies and defect from the rest of Europe because it doesn't want to freeze to death this winter nor crash its economy.
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What do these leaders really think, that people will give them a pass and wait "5-10 winters"?
If this coming winter is harsh, I think people will rise up, revolt and remove those guilty parties from position of power and any decision making in the future. If there was a corruption and malice taking place in there, they must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law with very harsh consequences. Because of the lack of these consequences in their decision making, we got into the situation, where they can do anything and instead of being thrown out of work, or out of office, they get rewarded, or moved to a different and lots of time even better position. Therefore there is no accountability, no remorse of wrong doing, they just move on. Sometime we even pay them by giving them a severance pay for their screw up. How can they loose? They can't, and this is the reason, why we have a situation like it is now. Enough!!!