Sunday. 02.10.2022
WAR IN UKRAINE

Germany eyes Russian gas import ban nervously, fears economic damage

German employers and unions said current proposals would harm the German economy and cause production stops, industrial slowdowns and loss of jobs

13 April 2022, Berlin: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reacts ahead of the weekly German cabinet meeting at the Chancellor's Office. Photo: John Macdougall/AFP/POOL/dpa.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reacts ahead of the weekly German cabinet meeting at the Chancellor's Office. Photo: John Macdougall/dpa.

Any sanctions that cut off the westward flow of Russian gas need to be well-thought-through, otherwise those laying the sanctions might suffer more than those sanctioned, according to multiple German business and labour leaders.

The question of whether to lay an embargo on Russian fuel is tying Europe up into knots. On the one hand, few want to buy Russian oil and gas and funnel payments to a country that has attacked its neighbour, Ukraine.

But, on the other hand, most of Europe is unsure how it will heat its homes and power its economy without Russian fuel, which makes up a significant portion of the continent's fuel imports.

Germany is particularly reliant on Russian gas to keep the lights on, with 50% of its gas originally from Russia.

In a joint statement, umbrella groups representing German employers and unions said that they are worried that not enough care is being put into making sure that any sanctions are targeted, apply pressure properly and prevent harm to the economies implementing the sanctions.

Employment

"We don't see that in the current gas embargo debate," said Rainer Dulger, head of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) and Reiner Hoffmann, head of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB).

The two said current proposals would harm the German economy and employment levels more than it would those same factors in Russia, arguing that no gas means production stops, industrial slowdowns and loss of jobs.

The way to help Ukraine, they argued, is to make sure Germany has a stable economy and labour market.

Germany eyes Russian gas import ban nervously, fears economic damage
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