Economic expert Gabriel Felbermayr is critical of the planned EU-wide exit from Russian gas. Shutting down to zero creates new dependencies, said the head of the Austrian Institute for Economic Research (Wifo) of the German Press Agency.
"It should be a certain mixed portfolio in a post-war world that will hopefully then prevail and not one that only focuses on American liquid gas," said Felbermayr, who headed the Kiel Institute for the World Economy from 2019 to 2021.
Import duty on Russian gas
Austria, which in contrast to Germany still receives Russian gas, is obviously counting on time and an end to the war in the medium term. "Many hope that the Ukraine war will be over by 2027 and that there will be a new modus vivendi," said Felbermayr. The researcher thinks it is wrong to assume that Austria is dependent on Russian gas given its high import share. "In the summer of 2022, the country proved that it can fill its storage facilities without Russian gas."
Last January, the proportion of Russian gas imported into Austria was almost 50 percent. "What we all don't want is for the Kremlin to earn a lot of foreign currency from gas sales," said Felbermayr. That is why he is still in favor of an import tariff on Russian gas, which would make the raw material less attractive for new contracts with Moscow.
Not least in view of the gas storage facilities that are very well filled throughout the EU - in Austria, the storage facilities are still 67 percent full (March 2022: 12 percent) - Felbermayr sees little danger of rapidly rising gas prices. The price level is only about twice as high as before the Ukraine war. "The price cannot drop much further, but it will not make any jumps similar to those in 2022 either."