Europe is facing a severe energy crisis after Russia does not provide the required gas (gas). Russia has suspended gas supplies through the Nordstream No. 1 pipeline. Russia has reduced gas supplies in the context of the United States imposing sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine war, and Europe is ready to follow suit. When unilateral sanctions were imposed, Russia naturally began to retaliate. After Saudi Arabia, Russia is the largest exporter of petroleum in the world. Europe buys 30 percent of Russia’s oil and 40 percent of its gas. That is, if the fuel flow from Russia stops, Europe will shiver this winter. Many establishments and factories will have to be closed. Unemployment will rise. Europe will plunge into a major financial crisis.
As Prabhat Patnaik points out, Europe’s financial crisis is of their own making. US subservience is dragging Europe into this disaster. On February 24, when the war in Ukraine started, there was a loud cry in Europe not to buy Russian fuel. And stop over-reliance on Russia for fuel. Confusing Russia with Europe has always been part of British American diplomacy. This is because they know that if Germany, France and Russia agree, it is a threat to them. The flagship of this Anglo-American project is the Economist, published from London.
In any case, Germany, which is now the fourth economic power in the world, has fallen into the Anglo-American trap. The Traffic Light coalition government led by the Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals is reeling from fuel shortages. 55 percent of Germany’s gas was imported from Russia. It has now come down to 26 percent. With no standing still, Germany started adding water to the neo-liberalization policy. Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor, competed with Thatcher and Reagan in implementing neoliberal policies. Although his party is not ruling Germany now, the neoliberal policy is the same for Olaf Scholz, the Social Democratic leader. But the energy crisis has forced him to change his mind. A clear example of this is the decision to nationalize Uniper, Germany’s largest natural gas importing company. The government is buying 99 percent of the company’s shares by paying 800 crore euros. The explanation of the government is that this action is part of ensuring energy security. In other words, in order to ensure energy security, Germany has understood that the sector must be kept in the public sector.
Uniper was owned by a Finnish company called Fortum. With the onset of the fuel crisis, prices rose and imports fell. This led to a fuel shortage. Uniper has moved to withdraw from the fuel sector at a time when profits are leaking. A private company has no obligation to serve the people at a loss. However, when the fuel shortage and price hike started affecting the people, they came out in protest. A massive protest march took place in Leipzig on September 5. The protest spread to other cities. It was at this point that the German government reluctantly agreed to nationalize the company.
France’s Macron government also nationalized an energy company before Germany. In July, a large company called EDF was taken over by the government for 1000 crores. The private company managed 69 percent of France’s electricity supply. That is, as the energy crisis began to engulf Europe, the flag bearers of privatization began to take up the banner of nationalization and the public sector. This should also be a lesson for the Modi government, which is eager to privatize the oil companies and the power sector.
With the certainty that the fuel shortage will worsen, Germany and other countries are abandoning environmentalism and returning to coal-fired power plants and nuclear power plants. Germany has decided to reopen three closed nuclear reactors. The duplicity of the Western nations is now being exposed before the world. Russia’s actions are also due to that.
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