Because of Russia: Habeck is planning a major gas change

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From: Astrid Theil

Robert Habeck (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) wants to restructure Germany’s gas supply against the background of the Ukraine crisis. © Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

Economics Minister Robert Habeck wants to make Germany less dependent on Russian gas. Meanwhile, he rejects the reduction in electricity and value-added tax and announces subsidies for heating costs.

Berlin – Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens)* wants to reduce Germany’s dependence on Russian gas. “We have to improve our provisions for next winter,” said the Green politician to the newspapers Funke media group and the French newspaper West France. Against the background of the Ukraine crisis and the general geopolitical situation, Germany must “create other import options and diversify the supply, including infrastructural issues”.

This is important in terms of security policy: “We have to act here and protect ourselves better. If we don’t do that, we’ll become a pawn.” In this context, Habeck’s main criticism was that the gas market was completely deregulated. “So far we have had no state influence. It can’t stay that way.” Habeck also warned of the consequences of commissioning the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline.

Habeck criticizes Nord Stream 2: “Vulnerable delivery route”

“Geopolitically, Nord Stream 2 not only exacerbates dependence on Russian gas, but also a focus on a supply route that is vulnerable,” he said. The large-scale Nord Stream 2 project in particular makes it necessary to diversify the gas supply. “The last few weeks and the conflict in eastern Ukraine have increased our concern that Russia will also use its gas supplies against German interests,” said Habeck.

In the event of an invasion of the Ukraine by Russian troops, “every sanction is conceivable that is suitable for forcing Russia to withdraw,” said Habeck. He also addressed the general situation related to the Ukraine crisis and stressed that the situation was precarious. The aim must therefore be de-escalation. “At the same time, it is right that the United States and the European Union say in great agreement: If Russia invades Ukraine, it will pay a high economic price for it.”

No reduction in electricity and VAT: surcharges for certain groups

In the context of Russian-Ukrainian tensions, Nord Stream 2 had become the focus of debates about possible sanctions against Russia. Within the federal government, however, there are different positions on the gas pipeline. The Greens are critical of the project, while the coalition partner SPD has so far turned away from the project.

Habeck has also rejected calls for a flat-rate reduction in electricity and value-added tax on energy. Instead of tax cuts, targeted surcharges should be paid: “An immediate child surcharge that goes to families who have to turn over every cent is much more targeted than a flat-rate tax cut from which the rich also benefit”. He also rejected a temporary reduction in VAT: “If you then increase VAT again, it will logically become more expensive and you run the risk of pushing up inflation.”

“The high prices put pressure on people who earn little,” stressed Habeck. Therefore, the cabinet decided on Wednesday (February 2nd) to grant a heating subsidy for people on low incomes: Low-income households and many students and trainees should receive this subsidy in the summer. (at/dpa/afp) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

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