European Times

News from the European Union

Scholtz is no Merkel as Germany wavers

Germany has rejected a complete ban on Russian gas and oil imports over Russia invading Ukraine, but voices are growing louder for Berlin to ditch its economic imperative to take a moral stand. The new Chancellor Olaf Sholtz is no Angela Merkel, is unable to be decisive and finds himself with his back to the wall.

After the United States and Britain imposed a ban on Russian oil, pressure has mounted on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government and other G7 members to follow suit.

A group of climate activists, academics, authors and scientists published an open letter to the German government on Wednesday demanding a complete ban on Russian energy, reasoning that “we are all financing this war”.

In a newspaper opinion piece this week, conservative lawmaker and foreign policy expert Norbert Roettgen also said the only correct course of action was to “stop Russia’s oil and gas business now”.

So far, Scholz’s government has remained unmoved, reasoning that sanctions should not risk destabilising the countries imposing them.

Germany will certainly not send warplanes to Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, after the United States rejected an offer by Poland to transfer its Russian-made MiG-29 jets to a U.S. base in Germany as a way of helping Ukrainian forces.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Scholz said Germany had provided all kinds of defence equipment and had sent weapons.

All this comes at a time when Germany recorded a record high number of coronavirus infections, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Thursday.Over the previous 24 hours, 262,752 people were confirmed infected with COVID-19. That number was 210,673 a week ago.Experts have said the number of cases could be even higher since many German testing facilities were operating with limited capacity.The RKI, Germany’s public health agency for infectious diseases, said 259 people died in Germany of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

German Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron told the Russian president that any resolution to the war needed to come through negotiations between Ukraine and Russia as the demanded a ceasefire and a complete stop to hostilies. All this while Gazprom board member and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Politico reported on Thursday.He was visiting as part of a mediation effort to end the war in Ukraine, Politico said, referring to “sources familiar with the matter.” German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told DW that should the report be accurate, the visit was made without consulting the government.

Germany’s refusal to ban Russian oil and gas, brought down the prices of crude as markets now expect other EU countries to follow suite.