Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has said that protests against soaring energy prices are being “radicalised” by “rightwing extremists.”
The comments come as the head of Germany’s top union official warns that the energy crisis could lead to the collapse of entire industries within the country.
“.. entire industries are in danger of permanently collapsing: aluminum, glass, the chemical industry ..”
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) July 3, 2022
“Of course there is a risk that those who already shouted their contempt for democracy during the Corona period, and were often travelling side-by-side with right-wing extremists, will try to misuse the sharply rising prices as a new mobilisation topic,” said Faeser, according to Welt.
Authorities in Germany are reportedly “monitoring” such extremism, with Faeser adding: “We are prepared for possible new protests.”
Gas bills in Germany have already doubled, and are expected to rise to roughly seven times what they were this time last year, as reported by the Guardian.
The Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 has seen no gas pass through to Europe since July 11 due to maintenance work, alleging one of the turbines is defective. Though parts have been sent by Canada, it is estimated that repairs could take up to 10 days.
Canada sent repaired turbine for Nord Stream to Germany – Kommersant https://t.co/wz9z8iaWQi
— Guy Faulconbridge (@GuyReuters) July 18, 2022
In addition, Russia’s state-owned energy firm Gazprom has announced it will be halting gas supplies to at least one major European customer.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 18, 2022
This has thrown the German economy in particular into a state of crisis, with Germany’s largest ammonia producer, SKW Stickstoffwerke Piesteritz, having to halt all production due to lack of gas.
Ammonia is a key component of fertilisers and exhaust fluids for diesel engines.
“There is now a danger that we won’t be able to produce certain things in Germany any more because there just won’t be the gas, or the energy costs are so high that it’s no longer competitive,” said Jörg Rothermel, head of VCI, which is the trade body for the German chemicals industry.
Chemicals are the third largest industry in the German economy.
German cities have already begun to order the rationing of hot water, air conditioning, shower times, turning off traffic lines at night, stopping the lighting of historic buildings, and more to conserve precious electricity, according to the Financial Times.