The global dynamics have very quickly altered amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. However, the European continent has been the most affected due to this crisis. Many powerful European nations like Germany and France have joined in, on sanctions against Moscow.
However, German chancellor Olaf Scholz’s approach to the ongoing Ukraine war has been heavily shrouded in incompetence of the highest order. Evidently, Scholz lacks political acumen, owing to his inexperience. He was chosen to lead Berlin as a consequence of a special circumstance.
His ineffective leadership at a time of uncertainty has resulted in him taking impractical decisions and that is going to end the German hegemony in the EU.
The energy crisis in Europe has deepened after Moscow suspended energy exports to the continent until the sanctions were lifted. The news has led to mounting pressure on European leaders, especially Scholz.
Germany had been the biggest beneficiary of Russian gas before the war and the decreased supplies have already resulted in rapid deindustrialization. Now, with gas supplies completely halted, Scholz is more worried than he ever was, further adding to his woes.
To tackle the crisis, Scholz has come up with a deal that would solve Berlin’s energy problem, however it would diminish Germany’s stature in the continent forever.
France will send gas to Germany if needed while Germany stands ready to provide it with electricity, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.
Paris enjoys continued gas supplies from Algeria and is also a net exporter of electricity. However, owing to issues in its nuclear plants, Paris has to scout for electricity from Germany, which could be produced from French gas. Therefore, France proposes to provide the raw material in the name of gas to Germany in return for a finished product called Electricity.
Berlin is in the grip of record high inflation and is facing a cold winter with minimum energy reserves in place. The ordinary citizens have now taken to the streets to vent out their anger against the European Union and NATO. They’re tired of being dragged on into the ongoing war.
On Monday, thousands of Germans protested against Olaf Scholz’s government. They demanded the lifting of sanctions against Russia and neutrality in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.
German inflation rose to a 40-year high of 8.8 per cent. Just in August, German energy prices rose 35.6 per cent and food prices 16.6 per cent.
As a result, Germany now has no option but to tread forward on terms laid down by France.
France has always been vocal towards creating a European block free from the US’ influence. Washington currently holds considerable sway in Europe through NATO and significant military deployments in the region always has a US factor involved.
French leader Emmanuel Macron previously said that Europe must become more independent with respect to its own defense and to self-sufficiently ensure energy supplies. He had already warned that Europeans can no longer rely on the US to defend them, given their questionable credibility.
A shift in the power paradigm of Europe from Germany to France would diminish the US’ stronghold in the continent. Paris’s support to Berlin in order to overcome the impending crisis would surely come with conditions.
Macron would ensure that Scholz shall support Paris in furthering its policies within EU and would adopt a neutral approach between that of the US and Russia.
Also, Germany needs France’s approval to elongate the Midcat pipeline that supplies gas from Spain into France. It runs from Barcelona to a connecting point with the French gas grid in southern France.
Both Spain and Portugal have a large capacity to import gas through a total of seven LNG terminals, and via two pipelines from the gas supplier Algeria.
Algeria could be Germany’s answer to its energy question but France needs to approve because the proposed pipeline would pass through its territory.
It is quite certain that Macron’s grip around Germany is tightening. France has a continuous gas line from Spain and also has nuclear plants to supplement its energy. Germany, despite being the biggest economy in the continent, is struggling to power its industry.
Berlin would surely submit to France if it wants to keep its people warm amid the upcoming winter. This would indeed be the end of US’ hegemony in the region and hopefully the end of war in Ukraine.