“‘Crippling’ Energy Bills Force Europe’s Factories to Go Dark,” according to Times reporter Liz Alderman. She details the devastating impact Brussels’ sanctions have had on industry and the working class across Europe.
If it seems like you’ve heard something like that before, it’s because you have. Prime Minister Orbán and members of his government have been making a similar argument for weeks.
At a meeting with his EU counterparts on September 9, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó asked, “How long does Brussels want to continue its sanctions policy, which runs totally contrary to Europe’s interests?”
Prime Minister Orbán has said that “the attempts to weaken Russia have not succeeded. By contrast, it is Europe that could be brought to its knees by brutal inflation and energy shortages resulting from sanctions.”
Nobody seemed to want to listen, and unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened. Inflation in the eurozone hit 9.1 percent in August, with energy prices skyrocketing 38.3 percent.
“For energy-intensive businesses like ours, it’s crippling,” the New York Times quotes the CEO of one glass manufacturer, Arc International.
The company has had to place a third of its 4,500 employees at its massive site in northern France on partial furlough. NYT further states that Arc indirectly creates another 15,000 jobs in the region — packaging, transport, etc. as well as other factory goods that use Arc’s glass parts. And many of these last have also seen a decrease in demand due to consumer spending coming to a halt, thus putting more pressure on demand for Arc.
High costs, low demand…crippling, yes. The situation has forced Arc to switch to diesel and turn to the French government for aid in covering its high energy costs.
The article goes on to list a slew of industries directly impacted by higher energy prices: aluminum products, paper, zinc, fertilizer, car parts, cardboard, toilet paper… with layoffs and production cuts snowballing across Europe.
“High energy prices are lashing European industry, forcing factories to cut production quickly and put tens of thousands of employees on furlough,” Alderman writes.
The sanctions aren’t working. And working-class citizens are feeling the brunt of it.
PM Orbán has repeatedly said that Europe has shot itself in the foot with these measures. But Brussels has refused to listen to Hungary when we make the point that sanctions have failed to bring an end to the war in Ukraine and instead only worsened the economic crisis.
Winter is coming to Europe and much is at stake. If it takes The New York Times recognizing this to make Brussels wake up to reality, so be it. I never thought I’d see the day when the NYT agrees with PM Orbán.
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