Europe saves energy, 15 percent, voluntarily. It will hardly be enough to get out of Putin’s gas trap. So the pressure on the Greens to give in on nuclear power and let Meiler run for a while is growing. But how do you tell your friends?
“We will manage without Putin’s gas. Point.” Says Katrin Göring-Eckard from the Greens. The question is how? With two sweaters on top of each other in our apartments, with showers only every two days? But private energy saving will not be enough. Without Russian gas, what will become of the energy-intensive chemical and metalworking industries that employ tens of thousands of people?
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Europe has now decided to save energy, 15 percent for six months, voluntarily, initially, and what comes after that is not decided by Brussels, but by the capital cities. And there are many exceptions to saving. Not even Olaf Scholz would want to talk about a “turning point” in the face of such a decision, or even about a “boom” that he promised people as Finance Minister at the time.
But back to Goering Eckard’s “point” comment. Such a Basta sentence sounds like Gerhard Schröder, the determined ex-Chancellor, who, by the way, was again traveling in Moscow as a gas traveler these days. But it also echoes: “The pension is secure.” Which was correct, above all, in the sense that the pension is certainly expensive and is becoming more and more expensive. Of course, Norbert Blüm didn’t mean it that way back then.
Point, Basta, Sure, “Whatever it takes” – there are always conjuring phrases, the fear resonates with them not to make it. Maybe not wanting to know everything exactly. There is now a new answer to the question of how “we” can get by without Putin’s gas, one that speaks of determination, of the determination of another major course correction.
The answer comes from a colleague of Robert Habeck, the Greens, who is the Federal Minister of Economics. Hubert Aiwanger holds this position in Bavaria. And the man from the Free Voters speaks an uncomfortable truth: “Germany’s entire coal and nuclear phase-out was based on the fact that we had the gas supply as a safe bridge. If this bridge breaks down now, we will have to install new bridges.” Aiwanger’s bridge consists of a toxic substance: atoms.
In Bavaria, not by the way, there will be elections next year. And if Hubert Aiwanger were of the opinion that his positioning as Germany’s most pro-nuclear minister could catapult him out of the Bavarian government, he would have kept his hands off it. But he hasn’t. Not only the three nuclear power plants that have not yet been shut down should run longer, but also three that have already been shut down. So six nuclear power plants. The uranium fuel rods would do that, Aiwanger explained to his listeners on the radio.
And “overtook” his prime minister. Markus Söder was the first in Germany to officially put the nuclear issue at the top of the agenda – and thus contradicted his chief colleague in Berlin. Olaf Scholz wanted to stifle the debate, also for reasons of coalition, as he always did before the Ukraine war. But now there is a new situation, and Söder stated what can hardly be disputed: that there is also a “power gap” in addition to the gas.
In any case: With six nuclear power plants in operation, the Federal Republic of Germany’s nuclear phase-out would be history for the time being. It would be a complete German revision, because the end of nuclear power was the biggest reason for the emergence of the Greens (besides: “Peace”, but that’s history about Ukraine), but it was supported by the SPD, the CDU , the CSU, the FDP and the Left Party. In addition to the energy industry.
The Greens are already on their way. If the impression is not deceptive, they are still looking for the right story to tell about it. Especially the own audience, especially the veterans from the nuclear power-no-thank-time, who today’s climate children only know from the annoying stories of their protest parents.
Franziska Brantner, who is State Secretary for Robert Habeck, says that when making nuclear decisions, “of course you have to take into account the difficult situation France is in at the moment”. Ironically, the difficult situation in France consists in the fact that half of the nuclear power plants there are currently not in operation. A circumstance that could be used to justify Germany’s continued operation of the three smart nuclear power plants to be decommissioned. As a neighborhood help, so to speak.
One suspects that the green “high-risk technology” could become a “European solidarity action” in this way. And solidarity is very popular right now – as a joint task against Putin, the terrible.
In Belgium, they have now decided to extend the term by ten years – with the political involvement of the Green Minister. And while the SPD in Aachen is still pondering the possibility of taking legal action because of the impending threat to the population of Aachen from the Belgian “scrap piles” (taz), the Dutch have decided next door to Aachen to build new piles, two in number. For climate reasons, by the way, not because of Putin’s energy war.
Germany is slowly becoming a nuclear-free island in Europe.