Will Germany be able to do without Russian gas?

Will Germany be able to do without Russian gas?

What happens in Germany after the Nord Stream gas pipeline sabotage. Sergio Giraldo's article

After the surprise, while the Baltic Sea still boils on the surface due to the gas escaping from the gashes in the Nord Stream pipes, an attempt is made to take stock of the damage and the consequences of the successful sabotage operation by unknown persons.

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has launched arrows against the unidentified perpetrators of the damage: "The intentional disruption of active European energy infrastructures is unacceptable and will involve the most severe response possible". In what the answer is substantiated and above all towards those who still have to understand everything. Yesterday German government sources leaked concern that the two pipelines could become unusable für immer (forever): in the absence of a quick repair, salt water could corrode the inside of the pipes making them useless. Perhaps this is true, but the sentence certainly appears a bit hasty, given that the extent of the damage has not yet been established. There is a clear dissonance between the European Commission which claims to abandon forever, in haste, gas supplies from Russia and the German government which worries about infrastructures which in any case, according to the wishes of the Commission, should never be used.

The German federal network agency (Bundesnetzagentur) thought yesterday to clarify that the events concerning the two Nord Stream gas pipelines have no influence on the situation of gas supplies in Germany. The two lines, in fact, were not in operation, albeit containing quantities of gas under pressure: the first had stopped for almost two months, the second never started running. Not only that: the government of Olaf Scholz has developed a plan based on consumption cuts, investments in regasifiers, alternative suppliers and European solidarity which already took into account a contribution from Nord Stream 1 & 2 equal to zero. The indifference to the fate of the volumes carried by the two Nord Streams was also reflected in the market prices, which rose on Tuesday only at the news that Gazprom, in relation to an old dispute with the Ukrainian operator Naftogaz, would be willing to sanction the 'Ukraine by shutting off the flow of gas that still feeds it and which is then overturned in Europe.

Russia called the allegations of sabotaging its pipelines "stupid" and said it was willing to call for a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the attack on the infrastructure. The United States, for its part, has made it known that it is "ridiculous to summon the United States for Nord Stream" and has invited American citizens to leave Russia "as long as means of transport are available". Norway has decided to deploy the army to protect oil and gas production and transport infrastructures, while Denmark has expressed concern about the security in the Baltic Sea area. The Danish Energy Agency expects the gas to stop leaking from the pipelines by the end of the week, and only then, he says, can the damage be estimated. On the other hand, some Danish specialist companies seem to believe that repairs are not that impossible or that long-term.

In Germany, the profound impression aroused by the episode remains. The great German leap eastward, for which pipelines were the ideal springboard, is turning into a catastrophic retreat, under the severe call of the United States to NATO membership. The US has a difficult relationship with Germany, in which mutual trust is no greater than coldness. In May 2021, for example, the scandal of wiretapping conducted by the American NSA on German political leaders broke out: Angela Merkel in the first place, but also Frank – Walter Steinmeier, current President of the republic, and Peer Steinbrück, both representatives of the SPD. It was not the first time that such an issue arose, but on the occasion it turned out that Denmark had actively collaborated in the espionage operation and for this reason the Franco-German reprimands concentrated on Copenhagen. No formal notes were made against Washington and the case collapsed fairly quickly.

Germany will now have to adopt a new direction, which will not only concern natural gas import routes. More generally, the events of recent months have undermined the German-centric European model, where Berlin dictated the agenda in tandem with France. More than that, they have destabilized Germany and the role it has always claimed for itself. The German ruling class has pretended to play a role that has been hinged in the European construction, which now reveals itself in all its tragic precariousness because it is light years away from reality. The idea of ​​a re-flourished German power is a historical result that still seems to be a distinctive trait of the Teutonic elites today.

At the same time, the attempt to make this reborn dominion more acceptable by dressing it in the pro-European cloak has deluded Germany that everything would be possible, that it would be forgiven so much, that many eyes would remain closed. This was not the case and the use of the European vehicle to expand towards the East did not pass the reality test. Now it is a question of whether Berlin will be able to find its own role in the coming months or whether it will fall back towards the Nordic topos of the twilight of the gods.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/energia/germania-dipendenza-gas-russo-nord-stream/ on Sun, 02 Oct 2022 06:40:43 +0000.