Germany Triggers Gas Alarm Stage, Accuses Russia of ‘Economic Attack’

“If this minus becomes so big that the companies can’t bear it anymore and they fall down, the whole market threatens to fall down at some point—so a Lehman Brothers effect in the energy system,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned.

Holger Hansen and Vera Eckert, Reuters

Germany triggered the “alarm stage” of its emergency gas plan on June 23 in response to falling Russian supplies but stopped short of allowing utilities to pass on soaring energy costs to customers in Europe’s largest economy.

The measure is the latest escalation in a standoff between Europe and Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has exposed the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas supplies and sparked a frantic search for alternative energy sources.

The step is largely symbolic, signaling to companies and households that painful cuts are on the way. But it marks a major shift for Germany, which cultivated strong energy ties with Moscow stretching back to the Cold War.

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