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SPILLO GAS / Thus Germany shatters European solidarity

Germany would be contributing to the run of the TTF, the European gas reference price, by buying lots of gas at any cost on international markets. The rumor has been around for days among insiders and yesterday it was published in the columns of the Confindustria newspaper which in an article on page 2 states that Germany “would now be buying new gas from non-Russian suppliers at prices higher than those registered at the TTF “. The German government, therefore, would be buying at prices even higher than the crazy ones recorded in recent days with gas now traveling at 10/15 times the prices of 18 months ago. They are levels that they are not compatible with the survival of European industry.

The German government, which can afford it financially, is rightly serving the interests of the 80 million Germans who vote. Given the turn that events have taken and given that it takes years to replace Russia, you have to run for cover at any cost. In fact, the time span, measured in years, between the current scenario and the replacement of Russia is more than enough to collapse the economy of a large industrial country like Germany and perhaps, God forbid, even its own. society. Let’s imagine for a moment that the German government at some point is forced to explain to its citizens that not only have businesses closed, but that the house cannot even be heated. Everything is legitimate to avoid this epilogue. We are talking about the German government and not individual companies because some utilities affected by Russian sanctions and which have had to replace cheap gas with gas at exorbitant prices they went bankrupt and were bailed out with public money. The “triangulation” is the fig leaf on what is in fact gas subsidized by the German government.

If the German government buys at full blast at these prices, the all-time highs, it means, at the very least, that there is a possibility that prices will rise further or that there is a scenario, perhaps at controlled prices, in which not everything is available on the markets. the necessary offer.

A few days ago, German Prime Minister Scholz said he was sure of European solidarity in the event of an energy crisis. Perhaps Scholz expects member countries to share gas with Germany. What emerges, however, is that those who can, rightly, implement all the necessary policies to protect their system regardless of what may happen to their neighbors. European solidarity is a myth that collapses in the face of crises and the current energy crisis transcends any crisis that has been seen since the start of the euro and perhaps beyond.

The Italian requests for a European price ceiling collide with this reality. A common energy policy in Europe will fail to pass over the cold, which may be hot, homes of millions of German citizens or over percentage points of unemployment which may not be there. This is inevitable for any state that retains a minimum of sovereignty.

The corollary of all this is that the inflation we have seen so far risks being torn apart in the coming months as energy prices are incorporated into the prices of finished products. If in Europe an attempt is made to “solve” the problem by closing this or that company, to lower the demand for gas, the future is made up first of a chronic lack of materials and then of ration cards. The gap to be bridged in the common perception still attached to the “two degrees less warming” is sidereal.

One last consideration: The European mechanism by which the price of gas is fixed, without going into details, lives on the assumption that the “market” is always able to guarantee supplies and that gas is a resource made available by suppliers on a global market as if it were a pair of shoes. Reality is different from this ideology because gas is a strategic resource that makes industrial systems and economies work. What we have learned in recent months, observing astonished prices that are a multiple of production costs, is that if ideology and reality are short-circuited, so much the worse for reality.

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