Protests in the Czech Republic and Germany against rising energy prices were just the beginning of a growing public discontent and will become worse over time as the European Union leadership is incapable of resolving the situation of its own creation, French economist Charles Gave told Sputnik.
Last Saturday, tens of thousands took to streets of Prague to protest the government’s inaction as the deepening energy crisis continues to batter the EU economy. Protest activities are also observed across Germany. According to local media, German citizens are expected to organize mass demonstrations this fall amid ongoing inflation and energy shortages.
“The demonstrations in Prague and Germany are only the beginning. The price of gas and consequently of electricity are driving the European citizens mad with anger and it will worsen. The European governments and the European Commission speak of a ‘manipulation’ by Russia, but people perceive very well that the decision to stop importing Russian gas and oil was a European decision, taken by Brussels without even thinking of the impact it will have on the European economy,” Gave said.
According to the economist, the EU has absolutely no political solution for the energy crisis European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has dragged the bloc into, which one more time demonstrates the incapacity of EU leaders.
“For the last 15 years, our European leaders have gone into a climate craze, promoting magic mirrors and windmills as the solution. It does not work. These solutions demand the same capacity in gas power plants,” Gave added.
The expert separately criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for the inconsistency of his steps aimed at resolving the energy crisis in the country — at first the French leader had decided to close tens of nuclear power plants used for producing electricity and then had ordered to increase their number. Gave also called “stupid” Macron’s support for EU decision to index the price of electricity on the price of gas.
“The French pay huge prices just because Germany depends on Russian gas. This is crazy and the wrath of the people is increasing,” the expert said.
The energy situation is more or less likely to improve in Italy after general elections scheduled for September 25, if Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party, will succeed in forming a government with the right and center-right as expected, the French economist said. In this case, the new Italian authorities might be able to suppress at least EU sanctions on energy products.
However, the possible easing of restrictions by Rome will not imply any positive developments in the EU, as there is no opposition force strong enough to bring the bloc back to talks with Moscow, even on energy issues, Gave added. According to him, democratic principles provide for a political elite to be replaced if it fails to address key challenges, but the EU opposition is totally paralyzed by political correctness that has led to the dissemination of propaganda for Ukraine.
The main problem is that many Europeans cannot see the clear link with the price of gas precisely due to the propaganda spread by the EU leadership, the expert added.
“They [Europeans] even believe that it is the bad Russians that have closed the tap of oil and gas, while it is our own leaders in Europe that have stupidly imposed these sanctions that are destroying the European economy. We, Europeans, are bringing stagflation onto our head. Before the people realize it, it will be too late. Macron, [German Chancellor Olaf] Scholz, von der Leyen and the like will never admit they were wrong and present excuses,” Gave concluded.
On February 24, Russia began a military operation in Ukraine, responding to calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The West and its allies have responded by imposing comprehensive sanctions against Russia, with the EU pledging to end its dependence on Russian energy supplies. The bloc has already approved seven packages of sanctions against Moscow, including gradual phase-out of Russian oil. The Ukraine crisis and sanctions have resulted in disruptions of supply chains and a spike in energy prices worldwide.