The largest confederation of German businesses has announced its opposition to extending Western sanctions to the Russian energy sector, claiming such a move would severely impact the German economy, it has emerged.
The Federation of German Industries (BDI) intervened on Tuesday amid reports that the U.K. and the United States were both prepared to ban Russian oil and gas from entering its market — such bans have since been announced, although the U.K. will be phasing out Russian oil imports by the end of 2023.
“The debate over the European energy embargo against Russia is playing with fire,” BDI President Siegfried Russwurm stated on German television network ARD on Tuesday.
PM Orbán opposes European ban on Russian gas, as it would ‘disproportionately affect Hungarian families’
“We will not allow the price of the war to be paid by Hungarian families,” the Hungarian prime minister declared following talks in London with the U.K. and fellow Visegrád Group nations
“The loss of Russian natural gas, oil and coal supplies would have a severe impact on the German economy and jeopardize the competitiveness of the industry,” he added, calling the expected consequences of a possible embargo “dramatic.”
Russwurm added that the suspension of Russian energy imports would be a more severe punishment for Germany and the entire European Union than it would be for Russia, the aggressor, because it would be impossible for Germany to replace the energy supplies overnight and secure alternative sources.
He pointed out that about a third of the crude oil and more than 50 percent of the natural gas used in Germany comes from Russia. Furthermore, the share of Russian coal in electricity generation is around 50 percent, and many power plants are powered by up to 75 percent of Russian coal.
The embargo debate has led to further significant price increases in the energy market. On Monday, natural gas futures on the TTF Dutch gas exchange rose to a record high of 60 percent to €345 per megawatt hour, compared to €150 at the end of last year, and a multi-year average of €25.
The price of North Sea Brent crude oil jumped 20 percent on Monday to a 13-year high of $139.13 per barrel.