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As Europe continues to consider a ban on Russian energy exports, German business and unions are joining forces in opposition, warning that an immediate Russian natural gas ban would have a severe negative impact on industry and jobs.
Germany boasts the largest economy in the 27-nation European Union and resisted a ban on Russian energy imports, opting instead for a strategy that would seek to gradually phase out Russian oil by year-end 2022 and Russian gas imports within two years.
“A rapid gas embargo would lead to loss of production, shutdowns, a further de-industrialization and the long-term loss of work positions in Germany,” AP quoted the chairmen of the BDA employer’s group and the DGB trade union confederation as saying Monday.
Some 40% of the European Union’s natural gas and some 25% of its oil now comes from Russia, mostly through pipelines.
Germany alone depends on Russia for approximately one-third of its total energy consumption.
Last week, the German government approved its biggest pension hike in decades at a time when inflation is expected to skyrocket, already hitting a 40-year high. Beginning on July 1st, pensions for former West German states will increase by 5.35%.
While Germany’s employers and unions are on edge over the potential for an “immediate” ban on Russian oil and natural gas, the bloc is still starkly divided on the issue.
EU ministers are now in discussions about a sixth round of potential new sanctions against Russia, noting that the bloc has jointly paid 35 billion euros for Russian energy since Vladimir Putin launched his war on Ukraine. Germany, Italy, Austria and Hungary are the most dependent on Russian gas and fearful of an immediate ban.
A ban on Russian coal imports has already been agreed but will not be implemented until August and will have only a limited effect on money going into Russian coffers compared to oil and gas.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com