“Regarding what happened in the winter of 2022, it is true that European countries didn’t have the capacity to replace all the Russian gas by liquefied natural gas (LNG) because the number of LNG stations, also known as regasification stations, in different harbors of European countries, was just not enough to replace the whole Russian gas,” Sapir told Sputnik.
“We don’t know, but I think it’s quite crucial to say that it will not be a problem of cost,” the French economist said. “If the EU has to spend €700 or €800 billion again for next winter and again for the winter after that, it will do that. The European Central Bank will probably provide this money. Of course, we will have a huge problem afterwards for public spending, for budgets, the level of debt will be high, but I think that this kind of shielding households and enterprises from the consequences of sanctions could be done for the next two years. That is not the problem. The problem is how to restore, how to rebuild European competitiveness in ten years because the entry costs are much higher now, especially for oil and gas. With other countries like China and India buying oil at a much-reduced price from Russia, the problem of competitiveness will be a very, very serious one (…) This long-term question of how to rebuild European competitiveness will be the major issue for the next five or ten years.”
“Coming on top of this long-term problem, having a new energy problem in Europe, is now confronting European politicians with some very, very hard decisions: How to restore the competitiveness of their countries; how to do so without shaking considerably the structure of the European Union. We can’t know the solutions to these problems, but they have to be found in the next five or next ten years or the European Union will progressively disappear as a major actor in the global economy,” Sapir concluded.