by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Protests are starting all across Europe due to rising energy costs, and this is probably just the tip of the iceberg as leaders all across Europe are warning that a total economic collapse may be imminent, as they prepare for massive social unrest in the weeks ahead.
Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is one of the latest leaders to sound the warning, as he stated in an interview with Bloomberg News:
A few weeks like this and the European economy will just go into a full stop. Recovering from that is going to be much more complicated than intervening in gas markets today.
The risk of that is de-industrialization and severe risk of fundamental social unrest.
I honestly do not see any other choice than doing market interventions. We don’t get a second chance to prove as 450 million Europeans that we take things in our hands. What you are seeing today is a massive drainage of prosperity out of the European Union.
“Intervening in gas markets” of course means doing just what European governments and the U.S. government have been doing for the past several years, which is having their Central Banks create more money to bail out failing industries and send “stimulus” checks to people.
There is just one glaring problem with this strategy: it won’t produce more needed energy, and it will cause inflation, possibly hyperinflation, so that the cost of everything else, including food, will skyrocket out of control. It is akin to pouring gasoline on a fire and hoping it will put it out.
So people are going to suffer either way, and they are going take out their frustrations on the government. And while we have seen massive protests in the past year or so over COVID measures, we have yet to see the kind of social unrest that will occur when people cannot buy food and face starvation.
Thousands of people took to the streets this weekend in Austria, and people are waking up to the fact that this is not Russia’s fault, but the fault of the sanctions against Russia.
An emergency meeting of EU energy ministers took place on Friday, and there appeared to be sharp disagreements regarding sanctions against Russia and who was to blame for the energy crisis in Europe:
An emergency meeting of EU energy ministers on Friday meant to reassure both energy companies and the European public regarding soaring prices and severely strained supply amid Russian countermeasures in response to Western sanctions is off to shaky and fractured start. Rather than reassure anyone of anything, it’s already clear the issue of a proposed cap on gas prices has only divided the bloc further, akin to the same prior question with oil.
Leading the way in pointing out the flawed logic of the plan, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto pointed out the blowback would be worse than the sting aimed at Russia. “If price restrictions were to be imposed exclusively on Russian gas, that would evidently lead to an immediate cut-off in Russian gas supplies. It does not take a Nobel Prize to recognize that,” he said.
Echoing prior words of Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, he said “The plan that would impose a price cap exclusively on Russian gas coming via pipelines is entirely against European and Hungarian interests.”
Jozef Síkela, the Czech energy minister chairing the meeting, went into it echoing a martial tone with talk of engaging in “energy war” which is unlikely to match any corresponding action (there won’t be any): “We are in an energy war with Russia. Putin is trying, by manipulating the market, to break the social peace in our countries, affect our way of life and attack our economies.”
Síkela said ministers were hoping to send “a clear message that will calm down the markets” by day’s end. This as over the course of the six-month Ukraine war Russian gas supplies to the collective EU have been cut by a stark 80% amid ominous reminders that “winter is coming”.
And yet, with Italy, Poland, Hungary and Greece standing out as among the most vocal opponents of such a cap among at least 10 EU countries who have voiced their reservations, FT notes that some governments are “warning that singling out Russia could push President Vladimir Putin to cut supplies to Europe completely.” (Source.)
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has been blaming the US for causing the energy crisis in Europe, stating that their sanctions against Russia are causing economic “suicide.”
Russia recently blamed the United States government for kicking off an energy crisis in Europe. According to a Press TV report, Russia believes the US is encouraging European leaders to make “suicidal” moves such as sanctioning Russia for its military incursion in Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blamed the US for causing the energy crisis in Europe during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on August 6, 2022. Her statements came after Russia shut down its Nord Stream 1 pipeline that supplied Russian gas to Europe. She alluded to the US-led sanctions in addition to technical problems for the pipeline’s shutdown.
Zakharova claims that the US has had a long-term strategy of completely destroying energy ties between Russia and major European actors, such as Germany. Since the Soviet era, Russia has been a reliable energy supplier to Europe
“The dominance of Washington prevailed,” Zakharova said to Reuters. “Political forces were brought to power in the European Union who are playing the role of ‘sheep-provocateurs.’”
“It is absolute suicide but it seems they will have to go through this,” she continued. (Source.)
Based on some signs being carried by protesters in Austria this weekend, it seems that some among the public in Europe are beginning to also come around to this position.
Back in June this year, we published two articles written by Sam Parker from Behind the News Network, and he too blames the U.S. for current conditions facing Europe, not Russia.
He actually made the bold statement that Russia is not America’s enemy, but instead Europe is.
The entire articles are well worth reading: