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Germans warned of ‘difficult autumn’ and ‘tough winter’

Germans should brace for a difficult autumn and winter due to skyrocketing prices, as the country pushes for independence from Russian energy, the Vice Chancellor, and head of the Ministry of Economy, Robert Habeck warned on Friday.

As for the support of the people who need it, I clearly indicated what is ahead of us and what is already partially a reality… we are facing a very difficult autumn and a very tough winter,” he said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

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Habeck made the prediction as he presented a new energy saving initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). Berlin is planning to replace Russian coal and oil by the end of the year and stop importing Russian gas by 2024, and is struggling to find alternative energy sources. According to the vice chancellor, energy prices are already extremely high and “many people will get significantly higher bills than usual” in the upcoming heating season.

READ MORE: Germans warned of further food price hikes

For this reason alone, saving energy is urgently needed, and I know that many are already looking at where they can save something, especially when they have to watch every cent anyway,” he said.

The new initiative – ‘80 million together for energy change’ – aims to motivate people to save energy. It provides examples on its website from everyday life and recommendations for saving energy, including: regularly defrosting the freezer, raising the refrigerator temperature to 7C, using LED light bulbs in offices, ways to cut down on water consumption and heating in the bathroom and kitchen, etc.

READ MORE: German industry warns against Russian gas embargo

Whoever saves energy helps Germany become more independent from Russian imports and also does it for the sake of the climate,” Habeck said.

The tumultuous situation with energy prices around the world has hit Germany hard. The availability of Russian energy carriers on the global market was put into jeopardy following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and the retaliatory sanctions from the West.

Energy prices propelled annual inflation in Europe’s largest economy to 7.9% in May, its highest level in nearly 50 years. Energy prices in the country rose 38.3% year-on-year last month, while food prices posted an 11.1% leap, data from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) shows. As a result, nearly half of German citizens have been forced to change their lifestyle and cut back on spending, media reports, citing polls. According to a study conducted for Bild newspaper by INSA this week, every sixth German citizen does not eat regularly due to the rise in prices, and another 13% are considering the possibility of saving on food.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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