Paul Brandus: Putin shuts off the gas? Europe is not only surviving the energy war against Russia — it’s winning.

by | Apr 3, 2023 | Stock Market

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine has resulted in Western Europe shaking off its dangerous dependence on Russian oil and gas. It isn’t hyperbole to say that this is a big deal. Before the war began in February 2022, Russia supplied about one-third of Europe’s natural gas. Europe was also the destination for almost half of Russia’s crude and petroleum product exports, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Putin saw this as leverage. Yes, the West might squawk about his invasion, he reasoned, but its thirst for energy would supersede any efforts to assist Ukraine in meaningful ways. After all, such efforts could result in his turning off the taps, a move that Putin thought would plunge Europe into a cold, dark winter and deep recession.  He was wrong. Military aid flowed into Ukraine, and Putin cut off the gas. But what of it? Europe has emerged from a challenging winter, and guess what? No recession. The Euro Area economy expanded 1.8% year-on-year in the last quarter of 2022, says Trading Economics, citing Eurostat data. It adds that for 2022 as a whole, Eurozone GDP expanded 3.5%.  Lower energy prices have supported Eur …

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