The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats on Monday warned against resuming Russian gas supplies after the end of the war in Ukraine.
“Even after the war, we will clearly not build up our dependence on Russian energy supplies again. We’re glad that we have now taken the most important steps to get out of there,” Saskia Esken told the RTL/ntv broadcast network.
It was a big mistake to make Germany dependent on one state for its energy supplies, she said, urging: "We shouldn't think about doing it again."
Esken's statements followed calls by the premier of the east German state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, who spoke out in favor of resuming Russian gas supplies after the war.
"We need long-term contracts for liquid gas supplies from the US, Qatar, and other Arab countries. In addition, we must finally develop our own natural gas in the North Sea. And when the war is over, we should use gas from Russia again," he told the weekly Bild am Sonntag.
But Green party parliamentarian Anton Hofreiter called the demand for a return to Russian gas "populist and irresponsible."
Anyone who demands this must then also say that they "would like to give Russia money so that it can buy more drones from Iran in order to destroy even more in Ukraine," Hofreiter told Berlin-based Phoenix TV.
Cheap gas from Russian pipelines was a boon to industrial companies in Germany until the start of the Ukraine war on Feb. 24, as they were able to operate at lower costs and gain competitiveness.
Natural gas accounted for about 27% of Germany’s total energy consumption the first half of 2022, mainly for heating and industrial purposes and to a much lower extent (around 15%) for electricity production.
Germany managed to quickly lower Russia's share in its gas supply since the war began, from around 55% in February to around 35% in May.
However, it is still grappling with the major challenge of replacing the remaining share with alternative sources. Other important suppliers include the Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway, all of which have raised their export volumes but cannot fully fill the void left by Russia.