Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday she had no regrets regarding the energy policy pursued during her 16 years in power, which made Russia one of Germany's most important gas suppliers.
From the perspective of the time, it was very rational and understandable to source network gas, including from Russia, which was cheaper than liquefied natural gas from other regions of the world, Merkel said at a press conference in Lisbon.
Even during the Cold War, Russia was a reliable supplier of energy, added Merkel, who visited the Portuguese capital as the president of the jury for a prize dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
“I absolutely do not regret the decisions taken,” she said, adding that she had not changed her mind on abandoning nuclear power.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, the former centre-right prime minister has been accused of increasing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy, including by promoting the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline despite the reservations of her European and American allies.
Her successor, Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, claimed, for his part, that Germany had “relied too long and too unilaterally on energy supplies from Russia.”
Ms. Merkel nevertheless acknowledged that the war in Ukraine had changed the situation. “This brutal invasion by Russia has now brought a change. This is a turning point," Merkel said in reference to Germany's energy policy.
This was a task for Germany's new government, led by Scholz, to deal with, she said.