Power outages inevitable in EU: Vienna
Austria's Defense Minister underlines that several parts of Europe could face power outages in light of the Ukraine war and the stifled European economy.
Several parts of the European Union will inevitably face power outages due to the Ukraine war, Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner said Tuesday, noting that it was just a matter of time.
"The possibility of blackouts in parts of the European Union is very high. The question is not whether they will happen but when they will happen," Tanner told the German newspaper, Die Welt.
She further explained how the war that broke out in Ukraine made power outages more likely and exacerbated their risk, claiming that so-called "Russian hackers" had the European electrical grid in their sights.
"We should not pretend that it is only a suggestion. Austria and Europe must prepare for blackouts," the minister stressed.
Furthermore, Tanner noted how Vienna has been for about two years warning of potential power cuts, printing leaflets with tips on how Austrians should conduct themselves if a blackout were to happen and what supplies they must stock up on.
Bundestag Vice-President Wolfgang Kubicki said Saturday that Germany could soon become a dysfunctional, bankrupt state if it stays on the same path it is currently on and fails to deal with the ongoing energy crisis in light of its imbalanced financial policies.
According to the Parliament's deputy speaker, the extra money Germany is currently planning to spend on energy imports from elsewhere than Russia would be withdrawn from other areas, as the surplus can be "neither printed on a money printing machine nor covered by taxpayers."
German left-wing politician and chairman of the Bundestag committee on energy, Klaus Ernst, commented back in September on statements by Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the sanctions should not hit Europe harder than Russia itself: "We have now imposed seven packages of sanctions and Gazprom is making record profits. At the same time, we are threatened with a wave of bankruptcies. Therefore: negotiate with Russia with an open mind."
The largest EU economy is anticipated to contract in 2023, as gas and electricity prices continue to skyrocket. According to the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, the Munich-based think tank, the ongoing energy crisis as a result of the war in Ukraine is “wreaking havoc” on the German economy and they project it could lead to a 0.3% drop in GDP next year.
The consecutive sanctions against Moscow prompted a race against the clock to diminish Germany's reliance on Russian gas before winter. Groceries and food are other sectors experiencing the aftermath of soaring inflation which saw prices surge 12% in June before reaching 16.6% in August.
It was speculated that Germany might have to temporarily curtail its energy exports in the winter, including to France, one of the chief German energy importers.
For many years, Germany has been considered a key electricity exporter. According to data from the network regulator, last year, it supplied 17,400 GWh more electricity to other EU nations than it imported.
Germany's main electricity buyers are France and Austria. According to statistics from the think tank Fraunhofer ISE, France imported 6,000 GWh of power from Germany from January to March this year, accounting for 5% of Germany's total electricity production during that time period. According to the data, this amount was five times higher than in the same period the previous year.