The horrors of Russia's offensive on Ukraine have been obvious from the outset, with apparently indiscriminate bombardments of residential zones and civilian executions being especially grim episodes in a drawn-out invasion that has cost thousands of lives and led to a flood of refugees.
Despite our capacity for empathy with those who experience these atrocities first-hand, it is difficult to fully grasp the misery of sorrows that are not our own. Yet though Member States further from the epicentre of the conflict feel the repercussions less painfully, they are there and ever-harder to ignore.
In fact, you'd have to live in one hell of a gilded cage to miss the effects of sanctions, shortages and uncertainty. Whether at the pumps or in supermarkets, the costs of war are trickling down to consumers, making life less and less comfortable.
But besides being hit in the wallet, nothing wakes you up to uncomfortable realities quite like a cold shower. And for some German residents, that's exactly what is in store since city authorities have announced targeted measures to cut the country's gas consumption.
We've all seen the tips for lowering energy use (lowering thermostats, draught excluders etc.), but these measures in Germany step things up a gear in response to the scale of the problem. Others include unplugging the lighting for major monuments and closing public amenities.
It is worth noting that Belgium's energy situation is not comparable with Germany, depending less on Russian gas and thereby less susceptible to the shortages Germany fears.
Nonetheless, with energy costs only going in one direction, we may find ourselves forced to take drastic measures out of financial necessity.
Are you dreading the winter? Let @Orlando_tbt know.
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Several major cities in Germany, such as Berlin, Hanover and Munchen, are taking their own measures to reduce energy consumption in light of possible gas shortages in the coming winter. Read more.
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