BERLIN – An immediate ban on Russian energy imports would trigger an economic recession in Germany and across Europe, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Bundestag, Scholz said Germany will end its energy dependency on Russia in due course, but the current severing of all ties will catch the German economy unprepared.
“We will end this dependency [on Russian oil, coal and gas] as quickly as we can, but to do that from one day to the next would mean plunging our country and the whole of Europe into a recession,” said the Chancellor, warning that “hundreds of thousands of jobs would be at risk, whole sectors on the brink to stand.”
“The truth is that the sanctions that have already been passed are also hitting many citizens hard, and not just at the pump,” Scholz continued. “Sanctions must not hit European countries harder than the Russian leadership.”
Scholz’s comments constituted a blunt rejection of calls by some EU countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, for a quick halt to Russian energy imports in response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
However, Scholz said that the process of moving away from Russia’s energy dependency has already begun.
“In the short term, we are securing additional sources of gas, oil and coal… We are already diversifying our sources of supply in the coming months. In doing so, we are building on the existing European-level liquefied natural gas terminals on the west coast, and we will build our own LNG terminals much faster than before,” he said.
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