German Economy Minister Robert Habeck was drowned out by protesters in Bayreuth on Thursday as he urged Germans to accept the rising cost of energy as the price of standing against Russia. Meanwhile, gas prices are set to soar even further thanks to a new government surcharge.
A chorus of jeers and whistles rang out as Habeck took to the stage during a citizens’ forum in the Bavarian town. Holding signs reading “warmonger,” they chanted “get lost” as Habeck attempted to defend his government’s anti-Russia policies in the face of a floundering economy.
Habeck insisted that “Germany should not tolerate the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, despite financial disadvantages,” according to a writeup of the event on Stern, a German news site.
Participants in the forum, however, told Habeck that these “disadvantages” were hurting them. Germany’s strategy of moving away from Russian energy imports as quickly as possible amounts to “economic suicide,” a solar entrepreneur told the minister, according to coverage by the Frankfurter Allgemeine. “What have the sanctions achieved?” another woman asked, adding that Russia will win in Ukraine regardless of the West’s economic penalties.
The outspoken entrepreneur is not the only critic to accuse the German government of committing “economic suicide.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the same phrase, while industry leaders in Germany have repeatedly warned that they face economic ruin without a steady supply of cheap Russian gas.