Energy

The economic powerhouses of the European Union, France and Germany, both set records on Friday for electricity prices, as the West’s sanctions war with Russia continues to bite.

This time last year the cost of electricity per megawatt-hour (MWh) in both France and Germany sat at around 85 euros. On Friday, both countries set record highs, with the cost climbing by at least 1,000 per cent from last year to €850 in Germany and over €1,000 in France, Le Monde reports.

While the price of energy has been rising since the end of the lockdown measures across the world last summer, Europe, and Germany in particular, have been subject to soaring prices as a result of slowing flows of gas from Russia following the sanctions clash following the February invasion of Ukraine, with many thermal power plants using natural gas to generate electricity.

Despite longstanding warnings from figures such as former President Donald Trump, Germany has remained heavily reliant on Russia for gas while it has pursued so-called green energy sources and shut down nuclear power stations.

Though Russia has claimed that the current shortfalls in gas shipments have come as a result of technical issues with the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, others have suggested that it is a retaliatory strike in response to sanctions levied against Moscow.

France, which unlike Germany has not abandoned nuclear power, has still been impacted by the gas price shocks, and is currently suffering from significant maintenance problems with its nuclear power sector. Currently, only 24 of 56 nuclear reactors owned by the state-owned Électricité de France (EDF) electricity company are operational due to issues with corrosion, driving French electricity production to a historic low.

The energy crisis is showing no sign of abating, with futures traders already trading French energy prices at a staggering 1,600 euros per megawatt-hour for December.

Warnings have emerged from the two leading economic engines of the European Union that widespread unrest will result from the rising cost of energy.

This week, French president Emmanuel Macron dubbed the situation as the “end of abundance” and a “great upheaval” in which citizens may “may react with great anxiety”.

Just days prior the former Rothschild banker came under fire for rank hypocrisy after he was pictured jet-skiing while on holiday in the French Riviera, right after he had called on the public to engage in an “effort of solidarity” and cut their energy usage.

In Germany, the Interior Minister for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Herbert Reul, issued a stark warning to those who may protest the government’s failures in preventing the energy crisis, branding potential demonstrators as the new “enemies of the state“.

Earlier this month, the President of the Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Stephen Kramer, predicted that the gas shortage riots will make anti-lockdown protests look like a “children’s birthday party“.

Meanwhile, Petr Fiala, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, called on Friday for an emergency meeting of the bloc to make further preparations for the winter,

“We are in an energy war with Russia and it harms the entire EU,” said Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Sikela.