Western Europe’s Anti-Russian Sanctions Are Pushing Some Nations to the Brink

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Brits were told their energy bills will surge more than 60% this winter.

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Spain has banned air conditioning from dropping below 27C (80.6F) in the summer due to the upcoming energy crunch.

All of mainland Europe is bracing for the worst.

European Union nations struggle to find common ground on how to wean the bloc off its reliance on Russian natural gas, seeking to appease wary, stressed consumers at home while upholding unity as Moscow turns down the tap.

The bloc is bracing for a possible full Russian cutoff of natural gas supplies that could add a big chill to the upcoming winter, leaving nations like economic juggernaut Germany especially exposed. But some other EU countries, like Spain and Portugal, which have little dependence on Russian gas, do not want to force such a major cut on their people.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 drew international condemnation from world leaders, although some leaders still voice their support for the invasion and blame the West for ‘stoking the tensions.’

Twenty-eight of NATO’s 30 members—including Europe, the United States, and Canada—have expressed full support for Ukraine and slammed Russia’s attack.

They say Russian President Vladimir Putin has weaponized gas exports to pressure the bloc into reducing its sanctions over the war in Ukraine or to push other political aims. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday called Russia’s cuts to gas deliveries “a form of terror” and urged European countries to respond by tightening sanctions on Moscow.

On the eve of an emergency meeting to discuss plans to cut EU gas use 15% over the coming months, envoys on Monday were still brokering a possible compromise that should keep all 27 nations in line.

A senior diplomat who asked not to be identified because the talks were still ongoing said:

This a still a work in progress.

From Bloomberg, “UK’s Ofgem Warns Households to Prepare for Difficult Winter”:

Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem warned that bill payers face a challenging winter ahead as energy prices continue an unprecedented rise that could push millions into poverty.

Bills are set to climb more than 60% in October to record levels and again in January, as surging energy prices push up the cost of supplying households. The UK has a cap on tariffs that shields consumers from daily spikes in wholesale prices but there’s little protection from gas prices that have tripled in just the last year.

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s chief executive officer, said:

I know this situation is deeply worrying for many people.

The trade-offs we need to make on behalf of consumers are extremely difficult and there are simply no easy answers right now.

As expected, this political-speak is not comforting to the people. The politicians’ crazy talk: ‘Pushing millions into poverty is a small price to pay to defeat Putin.’

Vladimir Putin has strong economic, political, and military ties with numerous other countries that are walking a fine line.

‘Keep a stiff upper lip!’ the politicians say.

Many of us, though, are saying, ‘You foolish people are backing the wrong cause, alienating yourselves from the wrong enemy. Your crazy politics will cause your people to suffer.’

‘Don’t follow lock-step the American democrat-communists. This will be a dead end for you.’

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1 year ago

Its winter in Europe already?