Putin cuts off gas supplies
As many regions in Europe struggle with a heat wave, Russia is reducing its gas supplies, leaving the continent facing the prospect of a cold winter. Germany and Italy, which under normal circumstances would be filling up their gas storage facilities in preparation for the cold season, are currently the worst affected. The shortages have caused a 30-percent rise in gas prices. Media in Central and Eastern Europe are concerned for consumers.
Bottleneck for the next two years
The Kremlin is taking full advantage of Europeans' dependence on gas - while it lasts, Lidové noviny notes:
“Moscow's first scenario was to shut off gas in autumn or winter so that European consumers would feel the pinch in their homes and workplaces. Now there's a second approach: cutting supplies will make it impossible to fill Europe's storage facilities before winter. ... The consolation is that Russia will only be able to use gas as a weapon this season and next. Then its time as a reliable supplier and business partner will end for decades to come. The problem is that this year and next, in addition to winter in their homes, the countries of Europe face a dramatic decline in industry, which simply cannot get by without Russian energy.”
Not even paying in roubles will help
The myth of Russia as a reliable energy supplier has been destroyed once and for all, Dnevnik stresses:
“Every time the gas market calms down a little Gazprom intervenes and starts boosting tensions by creating supply bottlenecks and driving up prices. This is not fatal right now, but imagine what will happen if this goes on during the winter heating season. Incidentally, the myth that those who agree to pay in roubles will have no problems with gas supplies has also been shattered. The word was that those who don't buy Russian gas would have problems. But the opposite is turning out to be the case: it's those who are relying on the Russian gas tap who are suffering the most.”
A hard winter ahead
Once again the people of Latvia are being left to deal with the problem on their own, laments Diena:
“This is exactly what happened with the support of entrepreneurs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, when the majority of the public is literally driven to despair with stories about the upcoming heating, electricity, gas and food prices, no solutions are being offered. ... Instead, ideas are circulating about certain 'target groups' who should get support, but the rest must fend for themselves and save for the winter, invest thousands in solar batteries, building insulation or buying electric cars. Never mind that a third of the population has no savings. ... And half earn less than 743 euros a month.”
Scrimping and saving with no reserves?
Economising would be the logical answer to the crisis, but in Romania most people don't have the means to do this even if they want to, Maszol points out:
“The persistent double-digit inflation puts the focus [for households] on making the most of financial reserves and effective budgeting . ... However, according to a recently published survey, this is hardly possible in Romania: 66.5 percent of our fellow citizens have no savings at all. ... In such circumstances it would be inappropriate to point to the classic formulas for the private sector, in which advisors suggest that one should set aside 10 to 20 percent of one's income.”