Economics Minister Robert Habeck has defended the course of the federal government in Ukraine policy against loud protests. The Greens politician made it clear on Thursday evening at a citizens’ dialogue in Bayreuth with regard to the sharp rise in energy prices that Germany should not tolerate the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, despite financial disadvantages. Arms supplies would have helped Ukraine resist the aggressor.
There were loud whistles against Habeck in Bayreuth, and many citizens shouted statements like “Get lost”. On posters he was described as a “warmonger”. Overall, the protesters were in the minority at the citizens’ dialogue, which was estimated to be several hundred participants. Habeck defended the course of the federal government and promoted exchange and dialogue.
In the dispute over a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, Habeck accused Russia of lying – he spoke of a “farce”. The turbine serviced in Canada has been in Germany since last Monday. All the papers were there, he had them in his own hands. But Russia refuses to bring the turbine into its own country. “They lie to your face.”
Referring to the sharp rise in energy prices, he said the root was the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The dictatorial regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin should not be allowed to win. The aggressive policy should not prevail. Germany must become independent of Russian energies as quickly as possible.
In view of the sharp rise in energy costs, the minister sees a need for discussion about additional relief for citizens. There is a “zone” that has not yet been “illuminated” politically, he said during a visit to Stadtwerke Bayreuth. Habeck spoke of “normal earners” who did not earn a blatant amount of money per month. “Because I think I know what burdens can come, I’m clearly on the side of being more generous.”
All gas customers in Germany will face higher prices due to a politically agreed levy in autumn. The federal government wants to use the surcharge to relieve struggling suppliers who have sharply increased procurement costs due to the throttling of Russian gas supplies.
With the surcharge, they can be passed on to gas customers to a large extent. In addition, there are market-driven price increases anyway. The traffic light coalition is discussing whether a new relief package is necessary this year.