Germans told to wear a sweater to cope with soaring energy prices
What did German officials do to fight spiking energy prices? They tell their nationals to wear sweaters.
The European Union has adopted a strategy to reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2030. In response to Russia's military operation in Ukraine, Baden-Württemberg Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection Peter Hauk has endorsed a total German prohibition on importing gas and oil from Russia, which contradicts Scholz's statements of energy supplies from Russia being exempt from the sanctions since there are no other ways to ensure energy security in Europe for the time being.
At the beginning of the operation in Ukraine, Germany's Minister of Economy made claims that Germany can ensure energy supply without Russian gas, saying, "We will buy more gas, but also coal from other countries," he told ZDF national broadcaster.
Germany, for many months, has been working with the European Union to develop alternatives to Russian supplies, according to Scholz.
"The federal government has been working for several months with its partners in the European Union and beyond to develop alternatives to Russian energy. But this does not happen overnight. Therefore, it was a conscious decision on our part to continue the activities of commercial enterprises in the field of energy supplies with Russia," Scholz had said in a statement.
Regardless, Hauk backed the response to Russia's activities, despite the potential impact on his country's residents, who are already battling skyrocketing energy bills, making it difficult for them to heat their houses.
“You can withstand 15 degrees in winter in a sweater. No one dies of it. But people are dying elsewhere,” Hauk said.
The lawmaker, a member of the Christian Democratic Union party, provoked a strong response from the German Tenants' Association, which said it demonstrated little understanding of the requirements of the elderly or those working from home.
Although the organization acknowledged that Europe needs to lessen its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, it warned that decreasing room temperatures and relying instead on wearing more garments could result in people being unwell during the winter months.
“With a ministerial salary or a presidential pension, you can afford exploding energy costs and do not need to freeze yourself,” Stuttgart state chairman Rolf Gassmann said.
The association went on to remind Gassmann that, concerning rented accommodation, German landlords have a legal obligation to ensure rooms can be heated to 22 degrees and to install proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup and mold infestation.
The European Union plans to reduce its reliance on Russian oil and gas by two-thirds this year, starting with a reduction in demand for Russian gas of two-thirds this year. According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the region "cannot rely on a supplier that blatantly threatens us."