7 September, 2022
German Economic Minister Robert Habeck looked like a deer in the headlights trying to explain how businesses will be forced to close this winter but won’t suffer bankruptcies.
During an embarrassing interview on Maischberger this week, Habeck was trying to make the argument that businesses across the country won’t go into insolvency this winter despite being compelled not to produce anymore due to energy shortages brought on by sanctions against Russia.
“Do you expect a wave of bankruptcies at the end of this winter?” host Sandra Maischberger asked him.
“No, I will not do that. I can imagine that certain industries will simply stop producing for a while, not go bankrupt,” Habeck insisted.
Habeck said “there is a reluctance to buy” because items are now “twice as expensive”, which could result in businesses being forced to stop producing goods.
“Then they’re not automatically bankrupt, but they might stop selling,” he admitted.
Maischberg exposed the economic minister’s shocking lack of economic knowledge by stating the obvious: if businesses stop selling goods, they no longer make money, and therefore will go bankrupt.
“If I stop selling, then I don’t earn any money,” Maischberger pointed out. “Then I have to file for bankruptcy after two months, if I haven’t done so, I’ve delayed bankruptcy.”
Habeck agreed, saying, “You would then become insolvent if you made bigger and bigger minuses with your work.”
“Yes, but how are you not going to make bigger minuses if you pay people but you don’t sell anything anymore?” she asked. “So how should one…I didn’t understand it.”
An increasingly uncomfortable-looking Habeck insisted that insolvencies wouldn’t happen “automatically,” but that eventually “certain transactions are no longer profitable and are then discontinued.”
“Maybe they will be included again later, that can be the case, so that’s not a classic insolvency,” Habeck claimed. “But it is possible, if we do not remedy the situation, that companies – bakeries, craft businesses, cleaning companies and so on – will then stop doing business during this year.”
Maischberg at this point could no longer hide her skepticism and told Habeck he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“So they’re broke because they can no longer work, but don’t file for bankruptcy?” she asked.
“Well, I think you really have to think about this point again, but I have the feeling you haven’t found the right answer yet,” she added.
Germany faces a natural gas shortage this winter brought on by the EU’s sanctions against Russia, which has already resulted in firewood selling out in Germany as people panic-buy to heat their homes.
“The Russian attack on Ukraine has created a tense situation in the energy markets and we are doing everything we can to avoid a gas shortage,” Habeck said Monday as Germany announced it would keep two nuclear plants on standby.