FSUOGM: Austria struggles to kick addiction to Russian gas
On September 7, the EU’s permanent representative to Austria, Martin Selmayr, provoked controversy by saying that Austria’s continued high dependence on Russian gas was tantamount to paying “blood money”. Selmayr, who was the right-hand of former European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, was speaking at an event in Vienna where a member of the audience castigated the EU for “warmongering” by supporting Ukraine in resisting the Russian invasion.
Selmayr was promptly summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was presumably scolded. The Minister for the EU, Karoline Edtstadler, likewise responded sharply, saying that Selmayr’s remarks were “unserious” and “completely one-sided”. Even the European Commission distanced itself from his comments, describing them as “regrettable and unnecessary”.
Historically, Austrian governments do not respond well to criticism, regardless of whether it is justified or not. That Austria continues to be structurally dependent on Russian gas imports is undeniable. Only Hungary has a higher level of dependency among EU countries.
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