By JÖRG WOLLSCHLÄGER | Apparently, the ever-increasing pressure from the economy and the population has had an effect on politics. The realisation that the gas sanctions against Russia are tantamount to hara-kiri for the industries of Germany and Austria has prevailed, at least among those in positions of responsibility in Austria. Hopefully, this decision will also lead Germany to turn away from the transatlantic course of deindustrialisation and self-destruction through a gas embargo against Russia.
Chancellor Nehammer said the following:
What has always been the Austrian principle, and I am a passionate advocate of it, is that sanctions must affect more those against whom they are directed and not harm more those who decide to impose them. Why is that so necessary?
This is not just some empty formula; otherwise it will not work to maintain the sanctions regime. Destabilisation of the European market, unemployment, social upheavals, all these are crisis scenarios that must be taken seriously in this context and then it must be examined what sanctions mean and with what consequences for the European Union or for the West as a whole. That is why the Austrian position is even that a gas embargo is not possible. This is not only because we as Austria are simply too dependent on Russian gas, but also because German industry is dependent on Russian gas and if German industry collapses, Austrian industry will collapse and then we will have mass unemployment. These are big issues that we have to face here. That means that if what I have just said were to happen, we would no longer be able to maintain sanctions against the Russian Federation. And in principle I think the approach is right, that every measure that is taken must also be evaluated.
Joint press statement by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, 28.7.2022 in Vienna. The quote starts at minute 36:12, link.