Germany imposes energy limits, Macron declares “end of abundance” in France
Lighting at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate will be turned off. | AP

Germany has unveiled energy-saving plans to get through winter with gas prices soaring and potential disruption to Russian supplies.

But protests are planned in some areas calling for the government to end sanctions on Russia, imposed over its invasion of Ukraine, to resume ordinary flows and bring prices back down.

From next month public buildings, apart from hospitals, will be heated to a maximum of 19°C with heating turned off entirely in corridors and lobbies.

Businesses will be told not to keep shop fronts or offices illuminated at night and public monuments and buildings will no longer be lit up after dark.

Heating private swimming pools will be banned and fuel shipments will be given priority over passengers on the railways.

Karl Krokel of the metalworkers’ guild in Dessau-Rosslau says it is planning a Sunday morning demonstration for serious peace talks and an end to sanctions, and said a craft association in Leipzig had made similar demands in a letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Germany remains heavily dependent on Russian gas imports for heating and powering industry, but other European governments are also warning citizens they face lowering living standards.

French President Emmanuel Macron told his Cabinet on Wednesday that we are living through a “tipping point” and “the end of the era of abundance.”

He cited climate change, a summer of terrible drought and the war in Ukraine as causes of instability that meant French people needed to make “sacrifices.”

His comments prompted a storm of criticism, with unions and left politicians pointing out that most French people had not known “abundance” under his presidency, with tax cuts and reduction of social security obligations on business boosting corporate profits and the wealth of the super rich.

Dividends paid to shareholders by the biggest French companies reached €44 billion in the second quarter of this year, the highest figure on record, amid soaring profits.

Yet “we have 10 million poor in France because of Macron’s carelessness and the predatory behavior of the rich,” French Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel said.

CGT leader Philippe Martinez said working-class people had already made sacrifices. “For many French people, times are already hard,” he said.


Steve Sweeney
Steve Sweeney

Steve Sweeney writes for Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. He is also a People's Assembly National Committee member, patron of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, and a proud trade unionist. Steve Sweeney escribe para Morning Star, el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña. También es miembro del Comité Nacional de la Asamblea Popular, patrocinador de la campaña Paz en Kurdistán y un orgulloso sindicalista.