Germany’s economy minister warns of industry shutdown due to gas shortage

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BERLIN, June 24 (Reuters) – Germany is heading for a gas shortage if Russian gas supplies remain as low as they are now, and some industries are set to shut down if there is not enough this winter, Economy Minister Robert Habeck told Der Revue Spiegel.

“Companies would have to shut down production, lay off their workers, supply chains would collapse, people would go into debt to pay their heating bills, people would get poorer,” Habeck told Der Spiegel on Friday, arguing that he was part of the Russian president. Vladimir Putin’s strategy to divide the country.

It is “the best breeding ground for populism, which aims to undermine our liberal democracy from within,” Habeck said, adding that Putin’s plans must not come true.

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Habeck held out the prospect of further relief for businesses and people affected by the gas shortage, but warned it would not be possible to absorb the full effects, Der Spiegel reported.

Consumers could see their energy costs double or triple, which in some cases are already between 30% and 80% higher due to price increases compared to last fall, Klaus Mueller, the head of the regulator, said on Friday. German network Bundesnetzagentur, to the television channel ARD.

The regulator considered various scenarios, Mueller said, and most of them “are not pretty and either mean too little gas at the end of winter or already very difficult situations in the fall or winter.” .

Germany on Thursday triggered phase two of three of its emergency gas plan, which takes effect when the government sees a high risk of a long-term shortage of gas supplies.

The measure is the latest escalation in a standoff between Europe and Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposed the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas supplies and sparked a frantic search for alternative energy sources. Read more

Germany, however, has stopped allowing utilities to pass on soaring energy costs to customers in Europe’s biggest economy. Read more

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Reporting by Miranda Murray; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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