Germany: The careful sitting duck

The ever contentious Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to be operational within the year, but perhaps the constant gas flow from Nord Stream into Germany is contributing to the government’s calm. [Shutterstock / Frame Stock Footage]

The German conservative-social democrat government remains a sitting duck as chancellor Angela Merkel is in her last weeks in office in her role as caretaker chancellor.

As a whole, the German national gas storage is 75% full and endured a particularly harsh winter in 2015 at similar capacity levels, as EURACTIV understands, which is why Germany is content to continue monitoring the situation.

The government has not enacted any measures to combat the increase in energy prices, although acting minister of the economy Peter Altmaier has suggested that the next government consider an increase in housing subsidies, the ministry told EURACTIV.

“In Germany, very many gas contracts are also of a longer-term nature, there are others that are more reliant on spot markets – all of that is reflected in the price fluctuations,” Merkel said.

The ever contentious Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to be operational within the year, but perhaps the constant gas flow from Nord Stream into Germany is contributing to the government’s calm.

Altmaier announced on Friday (15 October) that the government would effectively subsidise citizens’ energy bills by reducing the renewables surcharge by more than 40%, amounting to over €200 of savings for the average household.

As Angela Merkel is merely an acting chancellor and German citizens are not immediately imperiled by the increase in energy prices, observers do not expect her to push for immediate measures or anything other than small-scale spot measures and continued monitoring of the situation.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)

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