It is well known that Germany depends on Russian gas supplies. But how does the economy fare in this respect compared to other industrialized countries? Not good, sums up the Mannheim ZEW.

According to a study, Germany’s energy supply is particularly vulnerable in an international comparison – both to rising prices and to supply bottlenecks.

In the analysis published on Tuesday, the Mannheim-based economic research institute ZEW comes to the conclusion that the Federal Republic of Germany is becoming a “high-price island” together with the Netherlands when it comes to electricity supply. In terms of susceptibility to missing deliveries, Germany is therefore particularly vulnerable, together with Italy.

According to the ZEW, both factors endanger competitiveness and make Germany unattractive for industrial sectors with high energy consumption. The client was the Foundation for Family Businesses. The ZEW took a look at the energy supply of 21 industrialized countries from the point of view of how much the national economies would suffer from price increases and supply bottlenecks. The economists compared 16 EU countries, as well as the USA, Japan, Canada, Great Britain and Switzerland.

According to this, the security of supply of the three major non-European economies is not endangered at all because of the Ukraine war. The price increases there have so far been “extremely moderate or non-existent,” says the paper.

In Europe, the vast majority of countries are less vulnerable to a lack of energy supplies than Germany, which is particularly dependent on Russian gas.

Striking differences within Europe

“The price effects of the energy crisis for electricity and gas are largely limited to European locations,” explained study author Friedrich Heinemann. There are striking differences within Europe. “Germany, together with the Netherlands, is increasingly becoming a high-price island.” According to a ZEW analysis, electricity prices have not increased significantly in France or Switzerland, for example.

In the event of gas rationing, the metalworking, chemical and paper sectors would suffer the most. According to the ZEW, significant damage in other sectors could not be ruled out due to the lack of preliminary products.

“The competitors overseas have no problem,” said Rainer Kirchdörfer, board member of the foundation. “And the competitors in Europe can switch more quickly given the lower consumption levels.” Both the Foundation for Family Businesses and the ZEW appealed to the federal government: “The economic and energy policy in this country must therefore find answers to the question of how Germany’s competitiveness for energy-intensive companies can be maintained.”