Peter Hauk, Baden-Württemberg Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, has declared his support for Germany’s plan to ban energy imports from Russia in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
RT quoted Hauk saying that “you can withstand 15 degrees [Celsius] in winter in a sweater. No one dies of it. But people are dying elsewhere.”
This follows German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Robert Habeck’s announcement that the country was cutting its dependence on Russian energy imports sooner than expected. At a news conference on Friday, Habeck shared a progress report that showed that Germany will be slashing Russian oil imports by half by the middle of summer, and almost completely by the end of the year. Coal imports meanwhile will be cut by half in the coming weeks, and its estimated that the country could be free of Russian gas by mid-2024.
“We have made intensive efforts in recent weeks, together with all relevant stakeholders, to import less fossil energy from Russia and broaden the supply base,” Habeck said. “Every supply contract that is terminated hurts Putin.”
Hauk’s sweater comment, however, prompted a strong response from the German Tenants’ Association according to RT. The association allegedly claimed that the comment shows a lack of understanding of the needs of the elderly or those who are working from home.
AfD Federal Spokesman Tino Chrupalla said in a Tweet that it’s easy for Hauk, who’s been a member of parliament for 30 years, to say that people can survive a 15°C winter in a sweater when he can heat up his house as warmly as he wants.
It’s unclear whether Hauk meant his comment literally, as it directly references the impact, particularly the human casualties, of the war in Ukraine.
According to the RT report, the German Tenants’ Association agreed that Europe needs to cut the cord on Russian energy imports but warned that “lowering the room temperature and relying instead on wearing more clothing could lead to people falling ill during the winter months.”
Habeck meanwhile recognized that there’s no shortcut to ending Germany’s reliance on Russian energy.
“We still have a long way to go, and we will only be able to bid farewell to Russian gas with a joint show of strength — the federal government, the states, local authorities, companies and private households together,” he said.
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