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9 Sep, 2022 14:07

Germany frustrated with neighbors over gas – Bloomberg

Lack of solidarity could exacerbate the energy crunch in EU’s biggest economy
Germany frustrated with neighbors over gas –  Bloomberg

Germany’s neighbors Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland have refused to engage in “constructive negotiations” about gas solidarity deals, Economy Minister Robert Habeck has warned in a report to lawmakers seen by Bloomberg.

The paper, which was presented to the Bundestag’s energy and climate committee late on Wednesday, reportedly assumed that the reluctance could exacerbate the gas crunch in Germany “because a substantial building bloc of the EU’s gas crisis resilience in the form of bilateral agreements would not be available.”

The gas-sharing pacts between member states are part of a larger EU mechanism for energy emergency situations. They guarantee that one country will supply the other if they don’t have enough gas to provide the needs of households and social services, which enjoy special protection under EU law.

According to Habeck, the main reason the countries are refusing bilateral agreements with Berlin is because they don’t want to be on the hook to compensate their suppliers in case gas gets rerouted to Germany.

The economy minister also highlighted that Germany is in talks with Italy and the Czech Republic. The agreement with Italy would be a trilateral deal involving Switzerland as gas would need to transit that country into Germany. Discussions with Rome are on hold until after elections later this month, Habeck noted. The Czech Republic would be willing to sign such an agreement, but only if there’s a cap on government compensation for suppliers.

Given these problems, “there is currently no progress to be expected from negotiations about bilateral solidarity agreements,” Habeck stressed in the report.

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