High rates of inflation hitting consumers? pockets across the EU can actually be blamed on Russia, Poland's prime minister claims, pointing the finger at the country's state-backed gas exports and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Speaking to Polsat News on Monday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, "today, we are faced with a situation where in the majority of European countries, inflation is historically high in comparison with the last 20-30 years."
Morawiecki went on to name who he feels are the culprits: "Gazprom, Russia, and Nord Stream 2, as well as members of the European People's Party are responsible." According to him, the members of the largest faction in the EU Parliament did not act to "block the construction of the gas pipeline, but were in favor of it."
The prime minister also called the underwater link a tool for blackmail at Russian President Vladimir Putin's disposal.
According to indicators from Eurostat released in mid-November, annual inflation in the Euro area was 4.1% in October, in comparison to -0.3% in the previous year. Meanwhile, the rate for the European Union was 4.4%, up from 0.3%, with all member states seeing price hikes.
Moscow, however, is currently fighting its own battle against soaring prices. Last week, the head of the country's Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, announced that the rate of food inflation had reached double figures, which would likely see ordinary Russians struggling to buy essentials. On Thursday, local media warned that festive favorites like red caviar could be off limits to many families later this year because of unprecedented price hikes.
Europe has been gripped with rocketing fuel costs and gas shortages for months. In mid-November, the price of natural gas in Europe surpassed $1,000 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first time since the end of last month. In early October, it climbed to a record high of almost $2,000 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Putin has dismissed claims that Russia is "weaponizing" energy supplies as "complete nonsense," saying that falling electricity output from wind farms was the reason for the price hike, and that "proper analysis of the situation is often replaced by empty political slogans." Moscow insists that Nord Stream 2 will help cut costs for gas on the continent once it is given the go-ahead by German regulators.