Putin throttles the gas, Germany reacts with the alarm level. “Maybrit Illner” focused on consumers.
The consequences of the Ukraine war reach Germany in a new quality: because Russia is throttling gas, there is a risk of undersupply in winter. The gas alert level that was triggered on Thursday for this reason also concerned the group Maybrit Illner. “Is energy becoming unaffordable?” was the title of the show.
What was interesting was what the group derived from the situation for consumers. If gas will be unaffordable, of course, the panellists could not answer. However, everyone agreed that it would be more expensive.
“Maybrit Illner” – These were the guests:
- Christian Lindner (FDP), Federal Minister of Finance
- Lars Klingbeil (SPD), party chairman
- Monika Schnitzer, Professor of Economics and “Economics”
- Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency
- Henrike Roßbach, journalist, capital city correspondent “Süddeutsche Zeitung”
Bundesnetzagentur boss Müller explained in this context why the federal government has not yet drawn one of its sharpest swords: If gas becomes too expensive due to the Russian throttling, the resulting gas could be passed on immediately price increases from energy companies to consumers.
The consequences would be enormous price jumps – within a few weeks. “The instrument would have drastic consequences,” Müller pointed out. However, it is still unclear how the gas flows through Nord Stream 1 will develop. It is theoretically possible, albeit unlikely, that delivery will return to normal.
From the gas crisis into recession?
However, one should not rely on this. Henrike Roßbach therefore summarized what consumers can do now: save money, increase discounts and save gas, the journalist from the “southern german newspaper“ on. However, it is also clear that many households have no leeway for reserves. This in turn could then lead to a recession lead because many people would have to limit their consumption.
This raised another major challenge for politicians: Should gas prices rise, further relief will have to be initiated. “I’m very worried, that sometimes keeps me up at night,” said Christian Lindner. Although the finance minister held out the prospect of further help, he also referred to the debt brake: “The state cannot subsidize the high prices in the long term,” he warned, also referring to the rising interest rates.
Ukraine war – background and explanations for the conflict
Can Russia ever be a partner again?
Finally, what follows from all this for the relationship with Russia? The politicians in the group were unanimous: Germany must become independent of Russian energy supplies.
Categorically wanted Lindner but do not rule out cooperation with a government in Moscow. “I wouldn’t sign ‘never again,'” he said. Russia is not the same as Putin. And Germany too was brought back into the international community after the end of the war.
This edition of “Maybrit Illner” made it clear that the gas situation is serious but not yet threatening. At the same time, a hard-fought question from the first weeks of the war was answered in the program as well as through the events of the entire day: Should Germany refrain from using Russian gas in order to punish Putin for his war of aggression? The worries that the throttling already triggers show that it might have been quite reasonable to fill the storage as long as possible.
Ukraine crisis – all the news about the conflict
Maybrit Illner: Past broadcasts
This article first appeared on waz.de.
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