German industry backs oil embargo plans

“The German industry supports this step,” Siegfried Russwurm, president of Germany’s biggest industry association BDI, said in a statement after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented Brussels’ plans for phasing out Russian oil on Wednesday morning. [Shutterstock/YAKOBCHUK V]

Germany’s main industry associations have voiced clear support for the EU’s plans to impose a gradual Russian oil embargo, even though they said it would be a challenge.

“The German industry supports this step,” Siegfried Russwurm, president of Germany’s biggest industry association BDI, said in a statement after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented Brussels’ plans for phasing out Russian oil on Wednesday morning.

Russwurm also appeared optimistic about the feasibility of Germany phasing out oil imports. Since the start of the invasion, the industry had worked closely with the government to “practically make this possible,” he stressed.

According to him, substituting Russian oil in the short term, while possible, would bring challenges and additional costs.

While Russwurm welcomed the transition period foreseen by the Commission, he called on the German government to further support consumers and businesses in the face of high energy prices, which are likely to rise further following an oil ban.

The German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI) also voiced support. It said the government’s efforts in the past few weeks meant that Russian oil could now be sufficiently substituted from other sources.

“However, we are concerned about the expected further price spike for crude oil and thus also for raw materials,” the association’s manager, Wolfgang Große Entrup, has said.

Meanwhile, the National Association of German Cooperative Banks (BVR) pointed to the potential positive impacts of the measure. An oil embargo “will likely push up the already high inflation rates, but it could also lead to a faster transition towards renewable energies,” Marija Kolak, the association’s president, said.

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