07 Jun 2022, 13:25
Jessica Bateman

Majority of German economists support EU tariffs on Russian energy

Clean Energy Wire

EU tariffs on energy imports from Russia would be supported by a majority of economists, a survey has found. According to the survey by Ifo Institute and German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 70 percent of polled economists said they would prefer tariffs to embargoes, and that they believe they would be an effective way to reduce payments to Russia while protecting European energy supply. A tariff would force Russia to lower its export price while high prices in Europe would be an adequat signal for consuming less of a scarce resource. Fifty-seven percent agreed that Germany should restrict trade with autocracies and that the country has a duty to uphold human rights beyond its borders. However, 23 percent were opposed to tariffs on the basis that they may drive up consumer prices, and 36 percent said they did not agree with trade restrictions on autocracies and that they risk making countries more isolated.

Parts of German industry are opposed to all-out energy embargos on Russia as they fear for their secure supply of natural gas, in particular. But several economists and also the NGO Greenpeace have proposed import tariffs on Russian fossil fuels, saying that it would reduce Russia's revenues. Greenpeace estimates that German payments to Russia for oil and gas could increase this year, because of rising prices. The German government wants to reduce dependence on Russian gas from 55 percent at the beginning of this year to 30 percent by the end of it.

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