Hundreds of bikers gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Saturday to protest German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s policies and rising energy prices.
In March, Berlin ruled out extending the lifetime of its existing nuclear fleet despite energy concerns that arose after Moscow threatened to halt gas supplies to Germany in retaliation for Western sanctions in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Months later, Germany considered delaying the shutdown of three nuclear plants.
Deputy Chancellor Robert Habeck later said two plants would be on standby until mid-April 2023 instead of being shut down as planned at the end of the year. A government report said the third plant isn’t needed, DW reports.
In August, Conservative opposition leader Friedrich Merz called the government’s energy plan “madness” amid inflated prices.
Merz, leader of the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), accused Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and its coalition partners of failing the German people amidst an energy crunch and soaring inflation, DW reported.
Merz also said the coalition is “incapable of strategic thought” and reduced to “the lowest common denominator” on which the three parties could all agree.
“None of us wants to go back to the old nuclear energy, which we ended in Germany in 2011,” Merz said. “But the economics minister’s decision to keep two of those nuclear plants only in reserve was a big mistake.”
The CDU leader said that Germany risks becoming a laughingstock. Its European neighbours must think, “Are these Germans actually crazy to shut down three nuclear power plants in this situation?” he said.
“Stop this madness while we still have the time!”
The German government recently announced a €65 billion relief package to help citizens and companies with skyrocketing energy costs. It’s also vowed to reform the energy market to collect excess profits and cap prices.
“We will get through this winter,” Scholz said.