Business news | Angry at its neighbours over gas, Germany - Bloomberg

Lack of cooperation might make the biggest economy in the EU's energy crisis worse.



Economy Minister Robert Habeck has warned in a memo to parliamentarians seen by Bloomberg that Germany's neighbours Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Poland have failed to engage in "productive conversations" about gas solidarity agreements.


A key building block of the EU's gas crisis resilience in the form of bilateral agreements apparently wouldn't be available, according to the paper, which was reportedly delivered to the Bundestag's energy and environment committee late on Wednesday. This might worsen Germany's gas shortage.


The agreements among the members to share gas are a component of a bigger EU system for handling energy emergencies. They ensure that if one nation does not have enough gas to meet the demands of homes and social services, which are given particular protection under EU legislation, the other will supply the latter.


The main reason the nations are rejecting bilateral deals with Berlin, in Habeck's opinion, is that they don't want to be responsible for compensating their suppliers in the event of a dispute.


Additionally, the economy minister emphasised that Germany is in contact with the Czech Republic and Italy. Since gas would need to travel through Switzerland before reaching Germany, the arrangement with Italy would be a trilateral one. Habeck underlined that until neighborsemphasizedthe elections later this month, talks with Rome are on pause. The Czech Republic is open to signing such a contract, but only provided the government remuneration for suppliers is limited.


Habeck emphasized in the report that given these issues, "there is now little progress to be expected from negotiations about bilateral solidarity agreements."


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