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German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir
German Agriculture Minister Cem OzdemirImage: Sina Schuldt/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's last energy plan a 'disaster'

Nik Martin
July 17, 2022

German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir says the current coalition inherited a "catastrophic" energy policy from Angela Merkel's government. Berlin is worried that Russian gas supplies may be cut this winter.


German Food and Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir on Sunday said the energy policy of former Chancellor Angela Merkel's government was a "disaster."

Referring to the country's heavy reliance on oil and gas supplies from Russia which expanded under Merkel's leadership, he said the current administration had "inherited a catastrophic situation."

"I didn't think it was a good idea for us to get 60% of gas from a criminal named Vladimir Putin," Ozdemir said, in reference to the Russian president.

Speaking at a trade fair in the southern city of Munich, the Green Party politician called for a public debate about the mistakes made by the previous government, saying it was vital to "come to terms with what has happened in recent years."

'Dependence on world's criminals'

Ozdemir said the current coalition under Chancellor Olaf Scholz must now continue to reduce Germany's "almost criminal dependence on the world's criminals."

"I don't want Putin determining whether we have enough energy or not," the minister said.

Gas supply: How will Germany cope in winter?

Germany has long relied on Russia for a large chunk of its oil, coal and gas imports, despite opposition from the United States and other European countries that it was playing into Putin's hands.

Merkel's administration pressed on with plans to open a second natural gas pipeline — Nord Stream 2 — between Russia and northern Germany. The operating license for the pipeline was only rejected after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.

Europe's largest economy has since been trying to wean itself off Russian oil and gas to boost energy security, as well as part of Western sanctions on Moscow.

Germany prepares for gas shortages

Berlin is now concerned about whether the country can restock its gas terminals sufficiently for the coming winter after Russia began throttling natural gas flows last month.

Russia last week also shut the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea for annual maintenance, but there are fears that Moscow may use the opportunity to permanently cut supplies.

Berlin believes the supply cut will form part of Russia's retaliation for the sanctions.

Edited by: Kieran Burke