Go to home page

The Law of the Jungle Breaks Out in Europe over Shrinking Energy Supplies

July 13, 2022 (EIRNS)—All of Europe is descending into cut-throat economic chaos as the sharp drop in Russian natural gas exports to “unfriendly” countries who imposed sanctions on Russia, work their way through the European physical economy. German Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck was asked whether or not Russia plans to leave Nord Stream 1 closed after its scheduled maintenance is completed later this month, to which he replied: “I have no secret information regarding either the first or the second scenario,” Habeck told ARD broadcaster. He added: “If it’s impossible to get more gas on the market, we just need to reduce our consumption even more.” Consumer and industrial groups in the country are now attacking each other, as they argue over whose gas should be cut first, and most (see separate slug).

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer tried to ironize about the “absurdly high” energy costs and inflation at a conservative ÖVP party meeting in the state of Tyrol last week. “If we continue like this, you will only have two options afterwards: alcohol or psychotropic drugs.” He added that “alcohol is basically OK. But ... the main thing is that you make a toast when you are feeling good.”

The country’s Social Democrats, among others, are outraged at Nehammer, with Social Democrat Franz Schnabl, who is the second deputy head of the state of Lower Austria, denouncing Nehammer’s attempted joke as “unbearable” when “a significant part of the nation is sliding into poverty,” and decrying what he called “the depravity” of the ÖVP.

In France, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday that the nation had to prepare for a total cut in Russian gas supplies, and that this meant planning for households and businesses to reduce energy consumption, RT reported. He added that the government was studying company-by-company to see which could be forced to scale back production to save energy if necessary.

And from Rome, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco warned last week that if Russia cuts its gas deliveries altogether, Italy would face a recession. Italian energy multinational ENI reported that Russian gas supplies have already been cut by a third, including the maintenance stoppage of Nord Stream 1. RT reported that “Italy is currently battling with drought and a heatwave that are hurting power generation. The EU nation is in a hurry to fill storage facilities for the winter which are now about 60% full.”

Back to top    Go to home page clear