Berlin- Since the outbreak of Russia’s war on Ukraine, it seems that its effects will not stop at the two countries. Various crises have permeated several countries in the world due to the importance of the important natural resources that the two countries possess, especially in the fields of energy and food.
In this regard, Europe was exposed to a severe energy crisis due to the dependence of a large part of its countries on Russian gas and oil, as well as a shortage of food oils and flour. This crisis was clearly defined in Germany. Fuel prices rose dramatically until the price of a liter of gasoline reached 2.60 euros ( The euro is equivalent to $1.05), which is double the pre-crisis price, as well as the case in diesel and natural gas prices, which led to the German government’s intervention in an attempt to lower the price and the price of gasoline began to settle at 2.20 euros, as well as diesel at two euros.
These prices remain burdensome for the German consumer due to stable incomes, in addition to the scarcity of some foodstuffs – including food oils and flour – and a clear increase in the overall prices of vegetables.
Because of the scarcity and loss of oils in some major malls, it was popular in small shops, and the price of a liter of sunflower oil jumped to 4 euros, while it was sold in major malls before the crisis at 1.70 euros and remained at this price, and the consumer is allowed to buy only two liters, which opened There was a wide discussion about food security in Germany, which is one of the countries most interested in the agricultural sector and one of the countries that produce and export wheat, and half of the German lands are devoted to agriculture.
The figures say that Germany’s production of vegetable oils before the Corona crisis – that is, in 2019 – amounted to 5.7 million tons, knowing that the annual consumption per capita reaches 17.1 kilograms.
In 2021, Germany’s production of wheat of all kinds amounted to about 23 million tons, while the export volume reached 9 million tons, which puts it in the eighth place in the world.
German government solutions
There are proposals that began to be nominated by the German government to address this crisis, which reminded the Germans of the crises of World War II and the subsequent economic problems suffered by the German people, and among these proposals:
- Energy tax cut on fuel for 3 months.
- Setting a one-time fixed energy price of €300 for all employees subject to income tax.
- A one-time bonus for people born in 2022 is 100 euros per child.
- Grant a one-time payment to recipients of social benefits in the amount of 200 euros.
- Discounted tickets for public transportation.
German citizen’s concern
Regarding the high prices and the scarcity of some materials, the director of the Arab Center in Berlin, Dr. Durgham Al-Dabbagh, said, “There are reasons that some materials have been cut off from the market due to the Ukrainian war, such as wheat, corn oil and sunflower, and there is fear of a widening war.”
Al-Dabbagh added to Al-Jazeera Net, “Small events may lead to a big result, such as the interruption or reduction of energy (gas) supplies, especially after the Russian government cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.”
He stressed that these situations have other repercussions, represented in the spread of a state of anxiety and perhaps panic, and “this has its dimensions, as either merchants legalize the delivery of goods to the market or the increasing demand of the public to buy and store, and this may cause the production of a confused socio-economic situation that will have its consequences.” economic market.
Al-Dabbagh said that governments cannot do much directly, but the strong central governments in Europe – such as Germany, France and Italy – can play indirect roles in preventing slipping into more difficult situations and situations, and “we believe that European governments are fully aware of the dimensions of the situation.” We are keen not to further deteriorate.”
The government’s intervention to reduce fuel prices did not solve the problem
With the increase in fuel prices at rates that reached about 80% on average, it was necessary for the government to intervene to limit the rise in prices, and they were reduced, but this did not solve the problem, according to Alex Schur, a gas station worker in the German city of Reutlingen, to Al Jazeera Net.
Although the German government this month embarked on implementing the decision to reduce fuel prices as part of a quick plan to address this crisis, this did not contribute significantly to easing the burden on citizens and lowering the prices of other products that depend mainly on internal and external transport.
Regarding the impact of the increase in fuel prices on citizens, Schorr said that the rise in fuel prices represents a burden on citizens and companies, as it contributes significantly to the high inflation rate in Germany and the increase in the prices of many foodstuffs and imported products, at a time when the salaries of workers and employees remained without any increase.
He considered that the war in Ukraine is the reason for what is happening, because Russia is one of the most important sources of energy for Europe, not just Germany, and this matter has a clear impact on the supply of Russian crude oil, which is used in the production of all types of fuel, from gasoline to jet fuel.
Reduce the added tax
Despite the solutions offered by the German government and its intervention to limit the rise in fuel prices, provide social support and work to provide materials that have been scarce in the market, these solutions appear to many Germans to be emergency and not a remedy for the problem.
They believe that the increases are in the government’s interest, as the higher the prices of materials – in their opinion – the citizen will incur losses and tax revenues will increase, so it is necessary to reduce or cancel the added tax.
Al Jazeera.net asked Nael Akai, manager of Akai store, about the rise in food prices and the scarcity of some of them and the availability of these materials in private stores with their high prices. He said there is no doubt that what we are experiencing now is caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine, as the two countries are among the most important sources of wheat and edible oils. This has led to an increase in oil prices.
He adds that a liter of sunflower oil is now sold in private stores twice its price compared to before the crisis, noting that most of those suffering from the increases believe that reducing the added tax contributes to alleviating the burdens of that crisis.