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The Austrian Finance Ministry rejected the gas embargo with the phrase “no choice

Vienna does not support the embargo on the purchase of gas from Moscow, because it would “hit” Austria more, it is “of little use”, says Brunner. Austrian Chancellor Nehammer has previously said that the country depends on gas from Russia by 80 percent

Vienna does not support imposition of gas embargo against Russia because Austrian industry to a large extent depends on Russian fuel and the country “has no choice”. Austrian Finance Minister Magnus Brunner told CNN.

“Once the sanctions hit you more than who they are aimed at, I think it does little good,” the Austrian minister added.

Last week, on April 14, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that Vienna’s position was shared in Berlin and Budapest.

“Austria is not alone in opposing the gas embargo,” he stressed at the time. Nehammer later clarified that Austria is 80 percent dependent on Russian gas, both households and industries need it, and “neither today nor tomorrow” will be able to give it up. “Maybe in a few years we will be independent of Russian gas,” the Austrian chancellor suggested.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made similar arguments against the gas embargo on April 22. He explained that the government seeks to prevent “a dramatic economic crisis in Germany, the loss of millions of jobs and factories that will never open again,” which would negatively affect the country, the rest of Europe and “finance the reconstruction of Ukraine.” Scholz also noted that a gas embargo would not have caused Moscow to change course. “And thirdly, does anyone even think about the global consequences?” – the German chancellor asked. German authorities plan to reduce dependence on Russian gas to 10 percent by the summer of 2024.

In early March, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned that sanctions against Russian energy supplies would be a heavy burden for Budapest. He explained then that 90 percent of Hungarian households heat their homes with gas, most of which is purchased from Russia.

Last year, 2021, the EU countries bought 155 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, accounting for 45% of all European gas imports and about 40% of gas consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. According to Eurostat, last year the Netherlands (€14.25 billion), Germany (€9.2 billion) and Poland (€5.6 billion) bought the most Russian oil. Among the buyers of oil products last year the leaders were France (€4 billion) and Germany (€2.6 billion).

European countries can do without gas from Russia for six months, but then their economies will face serious consequences, said in late April, the head of the European department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Alfred Kammer. According to the Fund’s forecast, a complete halt of Russian gas imports would risk a 3% drop in EU GDP, depending on the conditions of next winter. Kammer urged the EU countries to reduce gas consumption and increase gas storage capacity.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, then said that European countries “would not last a week” without Russian gas.

What do you think?

Written by Medvedev

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