Chancellor Olaf Scholz doubled down on his government’s promise to end Germany’s “one-sided dependence” on Russia and China for energy and trade, part of a sweeping rethink of the nation’s commercial ties triggered by the war on Ukraine.
“The price of sitting on our hands would be incomparably higher,” Scholz said Wednesday in a speech to the lower house of parliament in Berlin. “That is why we are putting an end to the failures of an energy and trade policy that has led us into one-sided dependence on Russia or China in particular.”
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a wake-up call for Scholz and his ruling coalition, and they moved swiftly to find alternative suppliers to replace the Russian gas, oil and coal on which Europe’s biggest economy heavily relied.
At the same time, Scholz and his ministers have been pushing to diversify Germany’s trade relationships in Asia away from China while maintaining existing ties to the world’s biggest exporter.
Germany’s dependence on the two countries was built up over decades. Scholz served for four years as finance minister and vice chancellor in the government of his predecessor, Angela Merkel.
In his Bundestag address, he said his government’s policies, including chartering floating liquefied natural gas facilities and extending the life of Germany’s remaining nuclear power plants, meant energy security is “likely guaranteed this winter.”
“Our country has the strength to overcome this crisis and emerge from it stronger,” he told Bundestag lawmakers.
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