The sale of fossil fuels and raw materials to Europe is perhaps the single most important source of income for Putin to finance his war against Ukraine, according to several Swedish debaters. Photo: Peretz Partensky. Source: Flickr.

Current debate

Week 17: Several demand that Europe restrict imports of Russian gas

A Russian halt to gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria this week breathed new life into the debate over Europe's energy dependence on Russia and how the West is financing Putin's war in Ukraine.  

Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels once again ended up in the headlines on Swedish opinion pages when Russia stopped its gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria last week.

- It is a warning to the rest of Europe, type Susanna Kierkegaard in an editorial in Aftonbladet.

The most worried is probably Germany, which has become very dependent on Russian gas, she thinks. Shutting down exports to Europe's largest economy would hit the entire EU hard.

However, Germany has a moral responsibility to throttle the gas, type DN's editorial board. They point to studies that indicate that the German government's warnings that a gas stop would trigger economic armageddon do not hold. It will not be a dance on roses, they say, but the most effective way to face Putin and end the war in Ukraine is to anticipate him and simply stifle the gas first.

Vladimir Slivjak, winner of the Right Livelihood Award 2021, suggests that the main reason for the war in Ukraine is that Putin has raised enough money to start it, and that the only way to avoid an even more extensive war in Europe is to completely break the dependence on Russian energy.

Left-wing party member and EU parliamentarian Malin Björk agrees.

- Russia's oil, coal and gas are financing the war, type she in Dagens ETC.

She and over a hundred other EU parliamentarians believe that coordination must be put into action in order to put an immediate stop to all European trade in fossil fuels from Russia and Belarus. It can help stop the war but also solve the climate crisis by speeding up the transition to sustainable energy.

Some even warn of less obvious ways in which European countries can benefit Russia economically. Three researchers type in DN that the extensive reductions in fuel taxes introduced by EU member states to protect their citizens from high prices also feed Putin's war machine.

- One day of extra income from the EU tax cut is enough to pay the salary for a whole year for over 1 professional soldiers, police or employees in magic factories, they calculate.

Ingvar Karlsson pay attention in an article in Aftonbladet how loopholes in the sanctions against Russia pay for Putin's war. Although it is in principle forbidden for Russian ships to call at ports in EU countries, exceptions are made both for ships under another flag and for many of the raw materials that Russia exports.

- It has been said many times, but it can be repeated. Trade with Russia is paying for the war, he writes.

Europe's dependence on Russian gas

Putin's gas stop is an attempt at blackmail 

Susanna Kierkegaard, Aftonbladet

"Putin earns billions on EU reduced fuel taxes" 

Johan Gars, Daniel Spiro and Henrik Wachtmeister, Dagens Nyheter

Send the Russian ships away 

Ingvar Persson, Aftonbladet

Germany has a moral responsibility to throttle the gas 

DN's editorial staff, Dagens Nyheter

"There is only one way to avoid an even more extensive war in Europe: a ban on the import of all Russian fuel must be introduced immediately." 

Vladimir Slivjak (Translation: Karen Söderberg), Sydsvenskan

Hundreds of EU parliamentarians: Stop Putin's fuel! 

Malin Björk (V), Dagens ETC

Swedish development assistance and refugee reception

Increasing aid to Ukraine is good for Sweden 

Alexander Clemenson et al., Dagens ETC

"We will receive refugees but not pay with aid" 

Anders Arborelius et al., Dagens Nyheter

Industrial policy for climate change

"Market forces are not enough against climate change" 

Hans Hellsmark et al., Dagens Nyheter

"Industrial policy needed for climate change"  

Max Jerneck, Dagens Nyheter

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