27.08.2022 Author: Vladimir Danilov

Did Scholz Go to Canada to Take a Shower?


On a 10-point scale, the current energy crisis in Europe has already received 8 points and a “frightening” forecast from the renowned consulting firm Rystad Energy. As the energy situation in the EU has steadily worsened in recent days, the number of problems facing Europeans is unwaveringly increasing. Europe is now very afraid of freezing to death in the coming winter, because it is clear that the winter will be very, very expensive for Europeans, and the future is extremely vague and uncertain. As Bloomberg adds to describe this difficult situation for Europe, the energy crisis in the EU is exacerbated by a record-setting drought and rivers drying up.

Moreover, there is growing discontent among the inhabitants of the European continent with the policies of their governments, which, overtly following Russophobic instructions from Washington, have neglected national interests, condemned the citizens of Europe to a financial and economic crisis, and are themselves restricting the flow of much-needed energy resources from Russia.

Popular discontent is particularly strong in Germany, where the national media report with genuine horror that all of Chancellor Scholz’s plans have failed and the population is preparing for a change of government. More than 60% of Germans are dissatisfied with the work of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the governing coalition, according to an August 19 INSA poll. Scholz’s popularity has fallen not only because of his Ukraine policy but also because of his unwillingness to be guided by national interests in matters of gas policy and relations with Russia. The chancellor’s policies, which are leading to Germany’s ruin, were criticized in particular by the Halle (Saale) Chamber of Crafts in Saxony-Anhalt in an open letter to Olaf Scholz, writes Der Tagesspiegel. During a speech in Brandenburg, Chancellor Olaf Scholz was defiantly booed by residents, who chanted, “Traitor to the people!”, “Liar!” and “Get out!”, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports.

In this context, some German media have already suggested that Scholz could face resignation. For example, back in the spring, the Spiegel magazine published a very critical article about Scholz drafted by his partners in the governing coalition – the Greens and the FDP. This made Scholz’s statement to journalists on August 22 all the more clear, as he announced that he sees no need for a mandatory change of chancellor in Germany and there is no reason to limit the chancellor’s term in office, clearly confirming his concern about maintaining his current position under today’s conditions.

Against the backdrop of a deepening energy crisis, European leaders, on Washington’s instructions, are continuing their Russophobic policy by restricting the admission of Russian hydrocarbons to the European market, while trying in vain to find a substitute for them in other countries and continents. According to Handelsblatt, Europe has thus created an unprecedented hype in the global LNG markets, thus depriving developing countries of gas and create an acute energy crisis for them. Against the background of the ceasefire in Yemen, there has been speculation about the alleged possibility of obtaining gas for Europe from this country after the resumption of operations of the local LNG terminal, which were suspended in 2015 due to the war.

Moreover, according to publicist David Sheppard in his article for the Financial Times, the heads of oil and gas companies in the European Union felt it necessary to urge Norway to sell gas at a price lower than the market. Judging by the reaction from Oslo, however, this has not been met with any sympathy there …

Similar to Norway, the French government was skeptical of the European idea of resuming construction of the Midcat gas pipeline that would connect the Iberian Peninsula and Central Europe, the Spanish El Pais reported August 18.

Under these circumstances, personal trips made by representatives of the European political and economic elite to various gas-supplying countries have become a new norm as they share the goal of replacing missing Russian hydrocarbon deliveries. Germany was no exception. Admittedly, there’s been no noticeable breakthrough on this track so far. On the contrary, after German Economy Minister Robert Habeck declared in March his intention to conclude a long-term agreement with Qatar on the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), his visit to the country in August led to the complete failure of these plans, and Qatar decided to supply gas to Italy instead of Germany, as reported by Deutsche Wirtschaftsnachrichten.

As a result, Chancellor Scholz decided to try his own luck, this time in Canada. However, his trip would raise a lot of questions from the very beginning. First, on the eve of this trip – on August 19 – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that there was no way to help Europe with energy supplies.

Moreover, in June, the German publication Die Welt detailed in Scholz’s native language why Canada cannot become a stronghold for German gas needs in the coming years. In particular, it pointed out that only the city of Saint John on Canada’s rugged east coast, where the country’s only port with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal is located, could be suitable for such purposes. However, when Scholz and Trudeau decided to sign an agreement on gas supplies by the end of August on the sidelines of the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, according to Bloomberg, significant obstacles for finalizing the deal were noticable even then. In particular, there is currently no infrastructure in Canada for exporting LNG, or rather, for transporting it across the Atlantic to Germany. Yes, there is an LNG import terminal operated by the Spanish company Repsol in Saint John, which in principle can be converted into an export terminal, but this will take three to four years. Alas, so far there are no terminals for receiving LNG in Germany either. The gas is delivered there via Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, although two stations are due to come online this year in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.

It is therefore not clear what Scholz was counting on when he organized his trip to Canada on August 22. In this regard, there is only one possible explanation – he simply wanted to take a shower there, given the restrictions imposed by his government on maximum energy savings for German citizens and even the instruction not to wash under running water, but only to wipe themselves with a damp towel for personal hygiene.

Vladimir Danilov, political commentator, exclusively for the online journal, the “New Eastern Outlook“.

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