is the gas flowing? Does Putin deliver? How reliable is the supply? The economy of one of the largest industrial nations in the world also depends on the answers to these questions, and with it the livelihood of the more than 80 million people who live in Germany. And is anyone really surprised when, for the first time, more people interviewed in an opinion poll for ZDF have more concerns about the insecure energy supply than about the situation in Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia?
At best, it is pleasantly surprising that 70 percent of the citizens interviewed for the ZDF Politbarometer still want to continue supporting Ukraine, even if this means higher energy prices. Now, “higher energy prices” is a relative term, the severity of which depends not only on the absolute level, but also on the income situation of the respondents. Let’s wait and see what the assessment looks like when the first back payments for gas drive households into debt or people are laid off because their businesses can no longer produce without gas.
A more sober assessment is given to those who reflect on the doubts about the effectiveness of the restrictions that can be felt everywhere. Do you meet Russia at all? Doesn’t Putin sell gas and oil to other buyers at the same price? Does it seriously weaken its domestic political position if there is no longer a McDonald’s in Moscow and no textiles from H
In the European Union as a whole and in the Federal Republic in particular, the core task of politicians is to make it clear how they can protect the population from the consequences of restrictions and energy shortages. Unfortunately, the German government’s position – we support Ukraine by all means – is only clear verbally. Doubts about their consistency are articulated not only in allied European countries and in the USA, but also in German politics.
The Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer from the CDU can perhaps still be dismissed as a stray individual opinion. But CSU boss and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder says in the ZDF summer interview that solidarity with Ukraine is good, but the policy towards Russia is wrong. His Secretary General Martin Huber is allowed to exaggerate this: Western weapons are significantly more effective than Western sanctions, he says.
It is an open secret that many NATO countries – France, Great Britain, the USA, the Netherlands and France – are providing more effective arms aid to Ukraine than Germany. Poland is now bitterly complaining that planned German tank deliveries have been delayed for months. However, these are the prerequisites for Poland to be able to hand over appropriate military equipment to Ukraine. Is the Federal Government, is your Social Democratic Chancellor pursuing a cuddly policy of delaying, which is intended to immobilize the left wing of the SPD with the parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich?
A policy that is not coherent or at least not convincingly explained is fatal in such difficult times. Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck’s personal values, which are so much better than Olaf Scholz’s reputation in the public rating, can be explained above all by his willingness to allow his audience to participate in the difficult decision-making processes and to allow them to understand the complexity. This is an empowered people. It should be treated that way by his government, by the chancellor.