Germany relies on Russia for natural gas trade

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU has sanctioned much of the Russian economy, but the Russian natural gas trade remains unaffected. The EU gets almost a quarter of its energy from natural gas, and almost half of that comes from Russia, the world’s largest gas exporter† As the EU’s largest economy, Germany is Russia’s largest customer and pays the Russian state gas company about 200 million euros per day since the war in Russia started. So while Germany has even sent arms to Ukraine in a historic shift in military policy through its gas supply, Germany is also helping pay for the war it is trying to end.

It is inherently difficult to turn away from mains gas. Unlike oil and coal, which can be shipped anywhere in the world, gas pipelines costs billions, takes years to build, and physically connect producer and buyer directly, leading to long-term commitments. That was the origin of Germany’s dependence on Russian gas, which has only deepened over time. Today, as the world tries to punish Russia through sanctions, that dependence stands in the way.

This video is part of cafemadrid’s Atlas series, where we explain how foreign policy shapes a region. See more of Atlas in a playlist here.

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