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The German economy minister has called on people to save energy in order to put pressure on Russia by reducing the country's consumption of gas imported from the newest addition to the world's pariah state list.
The specific recommendations made by Robert Habeck include less driving and greater use of public transport and trains.
"Every kilometer not driven is a contribution to making it easier to get away from Russian energy supplies. We are also protecting the climate," Habeck said, as quoted by Reuters.
Another suggestion the German economy minister made was for employers to offer their employees remote work on some days of the week. By staying at home, people would use less energy for transport.
"Wherever possible, one could work from home one or two days a week again - initially on a voluntary basis," Habeck said.
Another suggestion was for people to cycle or take the train instead of driving.
Habeck also said that with measures like this, it would be possible to reduce Germany's energy consumption by as much as 10 percent. Germany is among the largest gas importers in Europe, and Russia is its biggest supplier.
In December 2021, Russia had a share of 32 percent in German gas imports, followed by Norway with 20 percent and the Netherlands with 12 percent. Domestic gas consumption for the year totaled some 100 billion cu m, but imports topped 140 billion cu m.
Germany has been among the most vocal opponents to the war in the Ukraine, which has put the biggest economy in the European Union in a difficult position of a critic heavily dependent on the object of its criticism.
Despite this dependence, discussions are ongoing about an embargo on Russian oil and gas supplies to the EU, even though Germany has admitted it cannot readily afford to cut off imports suddenly.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
Even for disciplined people like the Germans, it is an impossibility for all of them to abide by the recommendations of their economy minister to reduce energy consumption. Even if they did, it will take Germany 10 years to eliminate its dependence on Russian energy supplies.
By then Germany and Russia would have resumed their lucrative mutual business but only if the world hasn’t gone up in flames in a nuclear annihilation by then. Already there is NATO personnel manning the weapons that NATO countries are supplying to Ukraine.
Over 6,000 German companies are currently operating in Russia providing at least 300,000 jobs to their subcontractors in Germany. Germany has been investing an average of € 20 bn per year in Russia since 1992. And the three packages of economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU do not affect the Western companies that make products in Russia for Russians.
And the man behind this extensive cooperation is no other than Putin himself. This dates back to when he was a Lieutenant Colonel and head of the KGB intelligence agency in East Germany.
The Siloviki, a group of highly skilled and patriotic leaders from the power structures of the former Soviet Union (the military services, the military-industrial complex), wanted to bring Russia into its former glory as it was before the collapse of the former Soviet Union. They began to play a role in 1999 with the appointment of Putin as prime minister and then president of Russia.
One of their major objectives was choosing a partner state, one that was highly developed in economic terms, in the immediate vicinity of Russia. In 1989 the Siloviki decided on Germany. The decisive role of achieving this was offered to Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Putin, former head of the KGB intelligence agency in East Germany. The rest is history.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London