Massive job losses feared in Austria without Russian gas

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The suspension of Russian gas supplies would be “a serious blow” to the welfare of the Austrian people as it threatens some 300,000 jobs, Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported citing the Federation of Austrian Industries.

According to the president of the federation, Georg Knill, almost the entire food industry depends on the supply of the “blue fuel.” Steel production also requires huge capacities, he said, noting that other industries will also be seriously affected.

The Austrian government does not have a plan in the event of a cessation of gas supplies from Russia, Knill said as cited by the newspaper. The Cabinet reportedly proceeds from the point that “it should not be cold in any apartment.”

Knill said that authorities could first cut off gas to the country’s enterprises, which is a major concern for the nation’s business owners.

He stressed that he sees the danger not so much in the fact that Russia could “turn off the taps,” but in the decision of the European Union to stop importing Russian gas. The bloc earlier pledged to abandon fossil fuels by 2040-2050.

Meanwhile, Austrian energy giant OMV is preparing to open ruble accounts at Russia’s Gazprombank to pay for gas supplies, according to media reports. The company said that its next payment is due this month.

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