German finance minister warns of a ‘severe economic crisis coming’

Christian Lindner is ringing the alarm bell, saying a crisis may be just months or even weeks away

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody
Germany's Finance Minister Christian Lindner speaks to the press after the ECOFIN Economic and Financial Affairs Council in the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has joined the rising chorus of voices warning of a severe economic crisis on the horizon for Germany, saying this “danger” is “due to the sharp rise in energy prices, supply chain problems, and due to inflation.”

Lindner made his prediction on Germany’s ZDF’s “Heute Journal” political talk show on Sunday night, saying that already “in a few weeks and months,” according to the politician, Germany “could have a very worrying situation.” He forecast “three to four, maybe five years of scarcity.” 

He said that the German government must formulate a response to this crisis, saying, “In this situation, we must not be choosy.” He added that it is necessary to talk about all the options, including extended operating times for the three nuclear power plants that are still operational in Germany.

Due to a lack of gas deliveries from Russia, Lindner’s party, the Free Democrats (FDP), is demanding that the three German nuclear power plants still in operation should at least be checked again. The SPD and the Greens, on the other hand, want to phase out nuclear energy completely by the end of the year, as previously planned by the grand coalition. 

The three remaining reactors should finally go offline by the end of December at the latest, as stipulated by the Atomic Energy Act.

Warnings about looming bankruptcies and a massive increase in gas prices over the coming months are driving the three parties in the left-wing government to search for a solution to avert a crisis by winter. The German government has already backtracked on some of its promises and signaled it will reopen coal-fired energy plants to ensure energy security.

Underlining the challenge facing the government, Lindner admitted that there was “no agreement” in the traffic light coalition about nuclear power. At the same time, he criticized the plans of Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to rely on coal-fired power plants: “In any case, I’m not satisfied that we are extending the climate-damaging coal, but not even considering the possibilities of nuclear energy.”

Lindner denied that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin could put Germany under pressure: “He doesn’t have us in his hands, we are the designers of our destiny.” 

Lindner claims that Germany can diversify its energy supply, close other supply chains, and act in a manner free from Russian pressure. In addition, he said that domestic gas and oil deposits could help serve as replacements. 

“There must be no taboos when it comes to controlling price developments for people,” said the finance minister. 

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