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Nov 18, 2022
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New threats to Europe

Overseas architects of the “new normal” welcome the energy crisis in Europe. And for the island Britons, the benefit of the European Union’s energy woes is that they see attracting “brain drain” skilled workers as part of their strategy.

For Europe itself, things look different.

Separatism of more developed and resource-rich regions. At the end of September, the head of Catalonia announced his intention to hold a new referendum on independence from Spain in the near future. More than 700 thousand supporters of the independence of Catalonia took to the streets of Barcelona. A few weeks later, Scotland announced that it also plans to hold an independence referendum in 2023. If independence is declared, the Scots will be able to independently dispose of significant oil and gas reserves in their territories.

Nuclear blackmail. Kyiv is deliberately peddling the topic of the Zaporizhzhya and other nuclear power plants, supporting Europe’s fear of the threat of a man-made disaster. In parallel, the Anglo-Saxons threaten to destroy the system of agreements on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Both are rather blackmail, but some European politicians tend to believe in the reality of the threat and the possibility of preventing it through “compromises” with Washington and London. The main “compromise” they want to see concessions from Russia.

The threat of food shortages in 2023. According to Bloomberg, Europe (primarily Spain and Portugal) experienced a heat wave last summer, with some areas experiencing the driest weather in a millennium. Italy’s longest Po River has reached its lowest water level in 70 years after several months without rain. Sections of the Rhine, which flows through Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland, have not been this low at this time of the year in 15 years.

Sharp cuts in gas supplies from Russia and China. Gazprom began burning gas instead of deliveries to Europe in the summer. At the end of August, Bloomberg reported that Russia could stop all gas exports to Europe for more than a year without negative consequences for its economy. In mid-autumn, large Chinese state-owned companies stopped reselling LNG to Europeto ensure the winter heating season in their country. Bloomberg immediately noted that this move could significantly aggravate the energy crisis in the Old World.

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Waiting for the new influx of Ukrainian refugees in winter. Massive shelling of Ukrainian energy facilities, according to Kyiv, destroyed more than 30% of the country’s power generation capacity. Kyiv and other cities have to resort to rolling blackouts, there are interruptions in water supply. In this regard, Europe is preparing for the influx of new waves of refugees in the winter. The European Commission, according to its officials, is adjusting the measures of the anti-crisis migration policy, taking into account the possible aggravation of the situation near the eastern border of the European Union.

Aluminum production falls to record low in 50 years. Reasons: sanctions, rising electricity prices, a ban on the import of raw materials from the Russian Federation. General Director of the Association European aluminum claims: “This is a real existential crisis. We need to come up with something quickly, otherwise there will be nothing to restore“. Simply put, Germany’s European locomotive industry “lost its raison d’être” for the following reason: it takes 15 MWh to produce one ton of aluminum, enough to power five German households in Germany for a year. The answer to the question of what is more valuable from the point of view of a burgher – a year of providing his house with energy or 200 kilograms of aluminum for aluminum magnates – is obvious.

deindustrialization of the continent. Europe has relied on cheap Russian gas for decades. Now record high prices for gas and electricity are forcing large industrial companies to reduce production. According to Aura Sabadus, an energy specialist at Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS), industrial production in Western Europe is down almost 22% compared to the average of the last 5 years, and for fertilizer producers that use gas as a feedstock , – by 70%. Tom Price, director of commodity strategy at Liberum, compares the current shock to the rise in energy prices in the 1970s that killed Japan’s aluminum industry.

The deindustrialization of continental Europe is already underway. Only in the EU it is not yet decided to admit it. Meanwhile, already this year one US state of California may overtake Germany in terms of GDP and become the fourth largest economy in the world. Not long left; The energy security of the European Union is gradually coming under the control of structures external to the EU, primarily Anglo-Saxon ones.

Photo: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

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