Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts politics at the forefront of realistic power relations between Germany and Russia, says Munich Security Conference Vice President and CEO Benedict Frank Told New Europe in an interview in Greece on 6 April.
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom announced on April 1 that it was abandoning its business in Germany, and the German government on April 4 Gazprom Germania said a fuel business, storage and transmission business would be handed over to German regulators to ensure energy security.
Asked if this is a game-changer in relations between Berlin and Moscow and whether politics is now the driving force, Frank said: Is the war in Ukraine a game changer and is politics at the forefront now? Yes, of course, and it helps that we have a government, partly led by the Green Party, which has long called for a change of power for very different reasons, and now two things are coming together. ” Said the vice president and CEO of the Munich Security Conference.
Frank stressed the need to reduce green energy transformation and geopolitical dependence, and not just reliance on certain types of energy, but on specific energy sources, such as Russia. “You will see a Germany that is fully committed to reducing its dependence on Russia to zero and has lost faith. Change through trade (Change through trade) Doctrine that we will be able to change Russia through economic relations. We gave it up and every part of German society gave it up so yes a game changer.
Angela Merkel, In his long tenure as German Chancellor, always believed that change could be achieved through trade, arguing that this strategy worked with the former Soviet Union. Frank said Merkel’s efforts to export democracy to Russia were a successful one. “It’s easy to criticize him now, but was it really wrong to try to pull them off in a democracy?” I don’t think so but maybe we were all a little more stupid, most of us at least, including me, and we dropped our guards and now we really have to get back into the game and make some very expensive and tough decisions and take people along. . We cannot do this without population. Our population needs to explain this because they will pay for it, “said Frank.
On April 8, German Chancellor Dr. Bundestag spoke Olaf Scholes It called on the EU to use that momentum to advance climate change. Germany, which relies on Russian gas for about 40% of its demand, has decided to free itself from dependence on Russia, but this cannot happen overnight. “I hope it won’t take several years but it won’t be a thing‘ tomorrow everything will be different, ’” Frank said. “But I think the main question is if Russia stops oil and gas now it will push us in the right direction faster. If they do not stop, the change will be slow. So, I have two heartbeats in my chest, one saying, ‘Please stop this Russia, so we don’t have to make that decision and force us to do the right thing’ and the other is beating for a significantly more slow heart. Change, “he added.
Neither side wants to take responsibility for the gas cut. But it’s getting closer, Frank said. “You will see a decision one way or another by the end of next week. I am 100 percent sure, “he said.
Russia and cyber security have always been a concern at the Munich Security Conference. When asked if this is a game changer in Europe and Germany, especially in terms of security, Frank said, “Yes, but I think it was less than a game changer we saw. The power is on. We expected. We’ve seen very little. We’ve seen a little bit of confusion; we’ve seen little denial-of-service (DoS) attacks here and there, but what we haven’t seen is what we feared could happen: The light and sewerage plants in Germany are shutting down. So, the question is, is it still coming, or do they not have the capacity to manage us to believe and so over the last few years it has probably been the wrong focus, ”he said.
Enhancing EU resilience
“I believe that cyber security, the protection of critical infrastructure are all important, but more important than I think is increasing resilience on all other fronts. In a way, we are preparing for the next war and we are not preparing for the dynamic conflict of the old nature and I think we need to put it in front of our thinking, “Frank said.
Since the Ukraine war, Germany has changed its security doctrine and the EU is now trying to become an economic power as well as a military power, increasing its security. Asked how optimistic he was that Europe could succeed, the vice-president of the Munich Security Conference said: “I am very optimistic, more optimistic than I was two or three years ago that Europe will do its job, that Russia crisis, China’s drama-in. “Waiting will force us to do the right thing and you will see a more credible, much more united European Union and the European continent.”