Germany’s Scholz to seek joint G7 action to bring down energy prices

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he will seek to rally world leaders to take joint action to bring down energy prices when the Group of Seven of industrialized nations hold talks later Tuesday.

Power prices have soared after Russia curtailed supplies in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, triggering an acute crisis in Europe and beyond. Germany is particularly hard hit as it was heavily dependent on Russian supplies.

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Scholz underlined that prices for fossil fuels must “come down to a sustainable level,” but that this “is not something that can be achieved with unilateral action from Germany or even from the entire European Union.”

“We must organise cooperation with those who are (consumers) and that is valid for Europe just like it is, for example, for Japan and Korea where prices on the market are much higher than they can bear,” said the chancellor in a speech at a machinery manufacturers’ congress.

“That’s why I have resolved to make mutual responsibility an issue in all international talks, and to make it an issue when we talk today, for example, within the framework of the G7, and to make it an issue in the European Union as well,” said Scholz.

“We need a negotiated process to get prices to fall back to a reasonable level,” he stressed.

The G7 includes energy exporters like the United States and Canada, whose fossil fuels are now being sought by importers like Germany.

The US has stepped up its deliveries to Europe to help plug the energy gap left by Russia, but Germany last week accused it of charging too much.

“Some countries, even friendly ones, are achieving astronomical prices in some cases,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper.

“The US turned to us when oil prices shot up, and as a result national oil reserves were also tapped in Europe,” Habeck said.

“I think such solidarity would also be good for curbing gas prices.”

The G7’s video conference is due to begin at 1200 GMT, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky set to address the leaders following a barrage of missile strikes unleashed by Russia on Ukraine.

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