German media: German economy minister underestimates oil imports from Russia

German media reported on the 2nd that German Deputy Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Protection Robert Habeck underestimated the amount of German oil imports from Russia. Germany’s share of oil imports from Russia had dropped to around 12 percent at that time, Harbeck said in April; data from the Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection in May put it at 27.8 percent.

The German newspaper Die Welt on the 2nd questioned Habeck’s remarks about Germany’s success in reducing its dependence on Russian oil, accusing Habeck of underestimating the situation. Habeck said in late April that Germany’s dependence on Russian oil had fallen sufficiently low that a complete ban on Russian oil imports became “feasible,” the report said. At the time, he cited data to prove that Germany’s oil imports from Russia had fallen to about 12 percent from about 37 percent in March.

The vice-chairman of the opposition CDU, Jens Spahn, called Habeck’s statement “apparently more of a whim” and asked the Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection to respond. The latest data from the sector showed that Germany’s oil imports from Russia accounted for 27.8% in May.

When the reporter asked why the two figures differed greatly, the Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection said it might be related to Habeck’s use of data provided by oil companies. Oil-importing companies said at the time that they could avoid contracts with Russia and would have the opportunity to obtain oil from other countries once the import of oil from Russia was immediately banned or Russia stopped supplying.

The Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection stressed that Germany still plans to completely wean itself off Russian oil by the end of 2022.

European Union leaders agreed in principle at the end of May to ban imports of Russian oil. According to the sixth round of sanctions against Russia issued by the European Commission on June 3, the EU will stop buying Russian seaborne crude oil within 6 months and stop buying Russian oil products within 8 months. By the end of 2022, EU oil imports from Russia will be cut by 90%.

G7 leaders held a summit in Germany at the end of June and agreed to discuss a mechanism to cap prices for Russian gas and oil exports. The G7 attempts to continue to buy Russian oil and gas at low prices, while stabilizing international energy prices and reducing the pressure of high inflation within Western countries. Some EU member states have questioned this, arguing that it would distort market mechanisms.

Since Russia launched a special military operation against Ukraine on February 24, the EU has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Russia, involving finance, energy and many other fields. Since Russia is currently the EU’s largest supplier of crude oil and natural gas, as the scope of sanctions against Russia expands, the backlash caused by the sanctions has made the EU even more embarrassed. (End) (Xinhua News Agency special feature)