German Economy and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck threw out the country’s entire business model on Monday, saying it relied on cheap energy imports from Russia that will never return. Habeck’s comments came during his announcement of a special tax on natural gas, intended to redistribute the impact of energy shortages between companies and the general population.
“Germany developed a business model that was largely based on dependence on cheap Russian gas,” Habeck told reporters in Berlin, noting that this also meant dependence on an “enemy” of international law, “liberal democracy and its values.”
“This model has failed and it is not coming back,” he said.
Because Russia has “arbitrarily” interrupted gas deliveries to the EU, Habeck claimed, Germany needs to “rescue companies that have got into difficulties and have to bear that as a national economy,” calling it “bitter medicine” that has to be taken in the process.
“This tax is the fairest possible way to distribute and bear the additional costs that have accrued among the population. The alternative is not no tax. The alternative would have been the collapse of the German energy market and with it, large parts of the European energy market,” Habeck argued.