Europe is facing a serious energy crisis after Russia did not provide the required gas (gas). Russia has stopped 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 petroleum exporter in the world. Europe buys 30 percent of Russia’s oil and 40 percent of its gas. That is, if the flow of fuel from Russia stops, Europe will tremble this winter. Many establishments and factories will have to be closed. Unemployment will rise. Europe will enter a major financial crisis.
As Prabhat Patnaik points out, Europe’s financial crisis is of their own making. The austerity of the United States 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, 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, the Greens and the Liberals is reeling from a fuel shortage. 55 percent of Germany’s gas was imported from Russia. It has now dropped to 26 per cent. Not standing still, Germany began to add water to the neo-liberalisation policy. Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor, competed with Thatcher and Reagan in implementing neoliberal policies. Although his party does not rule Germany now, the neoliberal policy is the same for Olaf Scholz, the leader of the Social Democrats. 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 importer. The government is buying 99 percent of the company’s shares by paying 800 crore euros. The government’s explanation is that this step 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 fuel shortages. Uniper has moved to withdraw from the fuel sector at a time when profits are falling. There is no obligation on a private company to serve the people at a loss. However, when the shortage of fuel and the increase in prices began to affect the people, they came out in protest. A huge protest march was held 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 a pre-German energy company. In July, a big company called EDF was taken over by the government for 1000 crores. The private company controlled 69 percent of France’s electricity supply. That is, as the energy crisis began to engulf Europe, those who carry the banners of privatization began to take advantage of the banner of nationalization and the public sector. This should also be a lesson to the Modi government, which is keen 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 stations 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 a result of that.
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