More than half of German citizens consider inflation to be the main threat, while only 18% of Germans are concerned about the situation in Ukraine. This is evidenced by the results of a survey conducted by the consulting company McKinsey. Citizens of Germany are also preparing for further price increases and save electricity. Experts call such conclusions natural and note that a further discrepancy between the goals of the governments of the EU countries and the mood of citizens can lead to an increase in political turbulence.
More than half of Germans are more worried about rising inflation than the situation around Ukraine, according to data from the consulting company McKinsey. According to a survey of more than 1,000 respondents, 57% of German citizens named price increases as the main threat, while military operations in Ukraine put only 18% of respondents in the first place among the threats.
In addition, 60% of survey participants reported that they started saving electricity, and 16% that they canceled their vacation. In turn, 53% of respondents are going to make fewer purchases for Christmas, while 12% of respondents have decided not to buy gifts for the winter holidays at all.
Earlier, German media, citing data from the Federal Statistical Office, reported that in October 2022, consumer prices in Germany, adjusted to EU standards, increased by 11.6% in annual terms.
In turn, inflation, calculated according to internal standards, increased to 10.4% – this is the highest figure since 1990, when the FRG and the GDR merged.
Energy prices in the country rose in October by 43%, food prices rose by 20.3%, the cost of services – by 4%.
At the same time, Germany’s GDP for the period from July to September decreased by 0.2% compared to the previous quarter. According to experts from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), this means that the German economy “has already slipped into recession.”
They attribute the decline in economic indicators primarily to the energy crisis and high inflation, as well as the general “cooling” of the global economy.
Against the backdrop of rising prices and a recession in the economy, in Germany, as well as other European countries, the energy crisis continues. After the start of the special operation in Ukraine, Western countries significantly increased the sanctions pressure on Russia by successively adopting eight packages of restrictions, including restrictions on the import of hydrocarbons from the Russian Federation. This has led to higher prices for electricity, fuel and utilities in the Commonwealth countries.
At the same time, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a recent speech to parliament, placed the responsibility for what is happening personally on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin’s merciless weaponization of hunger and energy, huge price hikes here and around the world – Germany and Europe are going through tests they haven’t seen in decades. According to the latest data, more than every tenth inhabitant of the Earth does not have enough food. Putin not only takes this into account – he uses hunger as a weapon, ”says Scholz.
The German chancellor also said that his country has allegedly freed itself from dependence on Russian gas and is now working to reduce energy prices, including through the conclusion of new supply contracts with other states. In addition, according to Scholz, Berlin managed to reach an agreement at the European level to reduce gas consumption by 15%.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
© Martin Meissner/Pool
Earlier in September, Scholz said that the German government had agreed on a mechanism to curb gas prices for consumers, to finance which they would take a loan of up to € 200 billion.
In turn, the head of the German Ministry of Economy, Robert Habeck, did not rule out that the current problems in the energy sector could develop into an economic and social crisis.
In addition, Bloomberg reported that due to rising energy prices, as well as a reduction in production, losses for the German economy could amount to $ 85 billion a year.
Accounts and valuables
At the same time, a number of German politicians admit that the anti-Russian sanctions policy of Berlin led to the crisis in the German economy. So, on the eve of this, said the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“Yes, sanctions have their costs, including for us,” Steinmeier is quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
However, he added that since the conflict in Ukraine also affects Germany, “the economic pressure on Russia cannot be bypassed,” and there is allegedly no alternative to sanctions.
© Hans-Peter Merten
Meanwhile, as analysts state, no matter what polls are conducted in Europe, their results in the overwhelming majority of cases will indicate that for EU citizens their own well-being remains an absolute priority.
“Western layman, in fact, is not interested in what is happening in Ukraine. They impose a certain picture on him, which he believes, but at the same time, the red line that no interference should cross is his pocket, ”said Vladimir Bruter, an expert at the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies, in an interview with RT.
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According to him, European well-being has so far been ensured through unequal commodity exchange, but now this situation has changed, and the inhabitants of the EU countries have experienced for themselves what it is like to be at the bottom step of the economic pyramid.
At the same time, he believes that now the leaders of the Western countries are still in control of the situation, but it is premature to make any forecasts on its further development.
“They are able to stay afloat for a long time due to their printing press, increasing the money supply, which was what Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, $10 trillion has been printed. And with this money they can still buy real products. However, such an emission only accelerated world inflation, ”the expert explained.
According to Vladimir Olenchenko, senior researcher at the Center for European Studies at IMEMO RAS, the results of the survey reflect the real mood in Germany and the European community as a whole.
“The Germans need to raise children and support their parents, and for this it is necessary that the economic situation in the country be regulated and predictable. This, in turn, depends on the prices for electricity, utilities, and so on. And against this background, calls for some kind of Euro-Atlantic values, of course, are hardly perceived by the German society, ”Olenchenko emphasized in a conversation with RT.
However, at the moment, in most EU countries, such a situation has developed when politicians who put Euro-Atlantic values above the needs of their population are in power, the analyst states.
“You can even call them pro-American, since they mainly defend US interests in Europe. But it is impossible to say that this trend has spread to the whole of Europe, because, for example, in Hungary there are politicians who understand that it is necessary first of all to solve domestic political problems, and not get carried away with propaganda, ”Olenchenko argues.
He believes that the current situation will only get worse, which will lead to an increase in misunderstanding between the population and the authorities of European countries.
“As seasonal factors come into play, other economic indicators will fall, the population will express dissatisfaction with the policy of the authorities. You can expect protests and retaliatory use of force by the government. Of course, this will destabilize the internal political situation in the country and worsen the state of affairs in Germany in general, ”concluded Olenchenko.