3 Aug 2022 8:46 am
In an open letter, representatives of the Saxon town of Reichenbach call on Minister of Economics Habeck to change his energy policy, particularly with regard to Russia. Otherwise, there is a risk of existential threats, security of supply and social upheavals
On August 1, the energy crisis team of the city of Reichenbach in Vogtland, Saxony, sent an open letter to Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck on the occasion of the energy emergency weekly view reported promptly.
At the beginning of their letter, the actors in the crisis team wrote that they, as representatives of the citizens and the economy of the city of Reichenbach, were currently seriously concerned. In their estimation, Germany is rapidly heading towards a severe recession, which would result in mass insolvencies, particularly among small and medium-sized companies.
The business representatives of this city have increasing existential fears regarding their companies, their families and the future of their employees. In particular, they would worry about an affordable basic supply of electricity and gas and the general provision of other raw materials.
The signers of the letter also had the impression that
“That the emotional outrage over the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine resulted in political decisions whose repercussions will have serious consequences for the population of our country, which could have been avoided with a more rational analysis and the existence of a strategy on this scale.”
The authors of the letter also reminded the Economics Minister of the oath of office on which he and all other members of the Federal Government would have sworn when taking office in accordance with Article 56 of the Basic Law:
“I swear that I will devote my energies to the well-being of the German people, increase their benefit, protect them from harm, uphold and defend the Basic Law and the laws of the Federation, perform my duties conscientiously and do justice to everyone.”
Currently, it would be imminent that the damage caused to the local population by the sanctions would far exceed the intended benefit. Although the municipal representatives wanted to make it very clear that they did not want to tolerate the war crimes of the Russian government under any circumstances, they then made it clear:
“We clearly have to accept the fact that Russia is superior to us in terms of power politics, because we are in a largely one-sided dependent relationship.”
In her opinion, the German economy would not be able to do without Russian gas supplies in the next few years. On this point, the signatories would fully support the Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer. If electricity and gas prices remained at this high level, companies would have to stop production and the security of supply for the population would no longer be guaranteed.
The energy companies assumed that many customers would no longer be able to shoulder the immense cost increases from 2023 and that the energy companies themselves would therefore also have liquidity problems. The representatives of the municipal housing industry agreed with this assessment. Additional costs would also be caused by legal conversion requirements, the property tax reform and rising building interest and building prices.
It would have been predicted that the cost of heating and hot water for a 55 square meter apartment would increase fivefold. This would mean that safe and affordable housing in towns and communities would no longer be possible. The resulting frustration and existential fears led to social discord and social upheaval.
In his most recent letter to the energy and economics ministers of the federal states, Mr. Habeck referred the responsibility for supporting the municipal economy back to the municipalities and federal states. This shouldn’t be the last word, the authors of the letter appealed to the Economics Minister:
“Different financial leeway of states and municipalities should not decide whether municipal utilities, which are just as systemically important for the supply of citizens as large energy companies, survive the crisis or not.”
At the end of the letter, city officials urged Habeck to reconsider his current strategy. In addition, they demanded:
“• An admission of our power-political inferiority as well as the
lifting of sanctions against Russia
• A freeze on arms supplies to Ukraine
• A far-reaching reduction in the generation of electricity from natural gas
• The establishment of renewed diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation
• Extending the lifespan of nuclear and coal-fired power plants
• Rapid expansion of alternative energy sources
• Cushioning of energy prices”
In addition to the mayor of the city of Reichenbach in Vogtland, Raphael Kürzinger, the managing director of the public utility company, Lars Lange, the managing director of the housing association Reichenbach GmbH, Daniela Raschpichler and the chairman of the Wirtschaftsvereinigung Nördliches Vogtland e. V., Ralf Schaller the open letter.
The letter to the Federal Minister of Economics Habeck can be found in full here.
more on the subject – City Day: Nobody should be cold, Habeck: We’ll see