Gas crisis: Fear of “social ordeal”: Traffic light politicians worry about the security situation
Berlin In view of new uncertainties about Russian gas supplies, there are growing concerns among politicians about social upheaval and political disputes. Green parliamentary group leader Konstantin von Notz told the Handelsblatt: “It is to be feared that right-wing populists will also exploit this social crisis for their own agitation.” Against this background, solidarity and social cohesion will be very important in the coming weeks and months.
The SPD domestic politician Sebastian Fiedler told the Handelsblatt: “We are probably facing the greatest social ordeal in post-war history.” Today he does not even want to imagine “what that could mean for the inner peace of society and for all of us security”. In his view, however, an increase in politically motivated crime is to be expected.
The Federal Government Commissioner for East Germany, Carsten Schneider, fears serious effects, especially in East Germany. The SPD politician justified this by saying that the sharply rising energy prices “are hitting a large part of the population here harder”.
The social situation in East Germany is more fragile because many people have no assets and are unable to save, Schneider told the Reuters news agency. This means that an increase in energy prices will immediately lead to existential distress and worries for many people.
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The reason for this is the lack of clarity as to whether Russia will again deliver gas via this route after the end of maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on July 21. On Thursday, the Russian government no longer made the resumption of deliveries dependent on the solution of technical problems, but on Western sanctions.
Government official blames CDU, AfD and left for fears
This depends on demand in Europe, but also on “unilateral” sanctions, said a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. Shortly before, the Russian energy giant Gazprom had caused uncertainty because it pretended to have no evidence of the return of the Siemens turbine for Nord Stream 1, which had been serviced in Canada. The Kremlin cited the maintenance as the reason for throttling gas supplies through the Baltic Sea pipeline.
The Eastern Commissioner accused the opposition parties CDU, AfD and Left Party of exploiting the fears of the citizens. Everyone would approach the federal government very harshly and confrontationally, said Schneider.
The SPD politician Fiedler sees the problem throughout Germany that as a result of an intensification of the gas crisis, social solidarity could erode in several places at the same time. “This is the most fertile ground that hostile rulers like Putin or domestic extremists of all camps, most notably the AfD, could wish for their disinformation and extremist propaganda,” he said.
The CSU domestic politician Andrea Lindholz shares the concerns. “The energy crisis, inflation, corona, the weakness of the euro and climate change are further increasing the tension in our society,” said the deputy leader of the Union parliamentary group in the Handelsblatt. “Of course, these multiple crises can also affect internal security.”
Lindholz rejected the accusation by the Eastern Commissioner that the CDU and CSU were also fueling the fears of the population. “It’s outrageous how the SPD is trying to put the Union in a corner with the right-wing extremist AfD,” she said. She asked Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to show more leadership now. “A clear political language from the Federal Chancellor would be extremely important to reduce social tensions.”
>> Read here: Germany threatens “social ordeal”: Politicians and economists warn of an escalation of the energy crisis
The Federal Government is well aware of the difficult situation. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck recently spoke of an impending “ordeal” if the “nightmare scenario” of a gas shortage became reality. “This will strain social solidarity to the limit and probably beyond.”
Lateral thinkers are already calling for resistance to government policies
The President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, warned that movements like the yellow vests in France are also possible in Germany. “The current crisis could be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back of increasing social divisions,” Fratzscher told the Handelsblatt.
The police union (GdP) does not want to “talk up a horror scenario”, but at the same time points out that individual groups, for example from the lateral thinker scene, are already “positioning themselves strongly against the federal government and calling for resistance” on social media.
GdP Federal Vice Dietmar Schilff told the Handelsblatt: “It cannot be ruled out that this will result in increased protests taking to the streets if unemployment rises significantly as a result of the energy crisis.”
>> Read here: Freeze against Putin? What the economy and citizens have to prepare for in the event of a gas emergency
The police are prepared for all eventualities, emphasized Schilff. There are emergency plans with which the security authorities are preparing for scenarios such as supply bottlenecks and possible consequences for internal security. “I hope that it will not come to that and that we will experience social unrest in Germany.” The trade unionist called on politicians to act. It is important that further relief for small and medium-sized incomes be considered.
The Green politician von Notz pointed out that the federal government had already taken various measures to relieve the burden on the population and companies. “Further steps will follow,” he assured.
With the Ukraine war and the consequences for the people in Germany, one is experiencing an “absolutely exceptional situation,” emphasized von Notz. “But as a society, we must not allow ourselves to be divided.”
More: Emergency plan – The EU wants to protect these sectors in the event of a gas failure