Industry President Siegfried Russwurm does not rule out a complete cessation of Russian gas supplies. “The decision lies with a man in the Kremlin,” said Russwurm on Friday before a top-level meeting of German business with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Munich. “You have to prepare for the worst, hope for the best and not talk about the crisis.”

Gas supply will be one of the main topics of the traditional meeting of the Chancellor and the four leading business associations at the Munich Crafts Fair. On Monday, the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea will be shut down for maintenance that was announced months ago. The fear is that the Russian side may not be able to resume deliveries after the maintenance is completed.

In southern Germany in particular, with its large industrial locations, there are concerns that if Russian deliveries are stopped, the pressure in the German gas network will no longer be sufficient to ensure a stable supply. “It’s quite possible,” Russwurm said. “All these emergency regulations, how to deal with gas shortages, are made for local disturbances. What happens in the event of a fundamental gas shortage in this gas network is not known from experience.”

Russwurm suggested examining short-term replacement solutions: “In Bavaria, we would do well to consider whether there are other connections that can be upgraded relatively quickly, for example connections to northern Italy.” Terminal in Trieste is the better entry point than via lines from Belgium and the Netherlands.

According to Russwurm, the stability of the German gas supply also has an impact on neighboring countries: “You have to see the whole thing in a European context,” said the BDI-Cef. “Our neighbors to the south and east, the Austrians, the Czech Republic, are partly attached to our lines, and we in Bavaria, conversely, are loosely attached to the Italian ones.” Whatever is decided in Germany must be coordinated with the neighbors.

The host of the top-level discussion is the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts. In addition to the BDI, the heads of the Employers’ Association and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce also take part. The meeting at the craft fair last took place in 2019 with Scholz’s predecessor Angela Merkel (CDU). In the past two years, the meeting had been canceled due to corona.