Financial TimesFinancial Times

Europe can withstand a winter recession

By Chris Giles

09 Aug 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Amid more news of Russian natural gas cuts to Europe, an FT opinion writer argues the EU is better prepared to handle the energy crisis than many people assume.

Energy substitution, solidarity and conservation can help overcome the effects of a Russian gas embargoVladimir Putin must think the leaders of Europe were born yesterday. The Russian president has made it perfectly clear that he will use tight restrictions of natural gas supplies as an economic weapon in the coming winter, but European politicians and central bankers still talk of a Russian embargo as a mere possibility.

There is virtually no way to escape a Europe-wide recession, but it need be neither deep nor prolonged. It is also Russia’s last economic card. So long as Europe ensures that its economies survive the cold season, Russia’s blackmail will have failed. It will not claim victory in Kyiv on the backs of shivering households in Vienna, Prague and Berlin.

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