Germany is still debating whether, given the war in Ukraine, it should be allowed to continue buying Russian energy. A new study now shows the amounts involved.
According to calculations by the environmental organization Greenpeace, Germany will probably have to transfer record sums to Russia for oil and gas this year. According to the study, spending on Russian oil threatens to rise from 11.4 billion euros the previous year to 14.3 billion euros in 2022.
Gas import bills could even double this year, from 8.8 to 17.6 billion euros. Germany would thus pay Russia a total of almost 32 billion euros for oil and gas – more than it has done for years. According to the study, which is available to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, this would correspond to 57% of the Russian military budget for 2020.
Greenpeace: Retain part of Russian export earnings
The organization therefore calls for a rethinking of German policy. “The federal government’s rhetoric about possible import bans without concrete action is highly counterproductive,” says Greenpeace economist and study author Mauricio Vargas. “It’s driving up gasoline prices and pumping record revenues into Putin’s war chest. This war funding must be stopped.”
If the federal government continues to avoid a gas embargo, it should immediately impose alternative sanctions, such as a peace levy, that curb the flow of money to Russia. Greenpeace recommends skimming and retaining some of Russia’s export earnings.
The revenue could mitigate the consequences of the war, for example as a reconstruction fund for Ukraine or to promote renewable energy, it is said. “As an energy currency for citizens, revenues could cushion high energy costs.”
Habeck sees social peace in danger if imports are stopped
Due to the Russian attack on Ukraine, the EU has now decided to stop imports of Russian coal and imposed unprecedented new sanctions. There are also constant talks of an immediate exit from Russian gas or oil. Germany and other countries have so far avoided this for fear of economic damage.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) recently told newspapers from the Funke media group: “An immediate gas embargo would endanger social peace in Germany.” You must act with caution, prepare the stages carefully and be able to persevere if you want to harm Putin. According to data from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany received more than 50% of its natural gas needs from Russia in 2021.