Travel

Greece's tourism minister wants German retirees to spend winter in Greece instead of stressing out about the natural-gas crisis

Business Insider US
Winters in Greece are typically mild.
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images
  • The Greek tourism minister is inviting Germans to spend winter in Greece, where winters are mild.
  • Russia has been reducing natural-gas flows to Germany and Europe over the last few months.
  • Germany is nervous Russia will cut off its natural-gas supplies completely ahead of winter.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

Greece has a proposition for Germans who are stressed out over the prospect of a natural-gas shortage this winter.

"For autumn and winter, it would be a great pleasure for us Greeks to welcome German pensioners who want to experience a 'Mediterranean winter' with Greek hospitality, mild weather and high-quality services," Greek tourism minister Vasilis Kikilias told the Bild newspaper, in a report published on Thursday. "We will wait for you here."

The invitation comes as Russia has been reducing natural-gas flows to Germany and Europe over the last few months, citing reasons such as energy companies' refusal to pay in rubles and an equipment hold-up in Canada. Germany — Europe's largest economy — is nervous about a complete cut of Russian gas supplies ahead of winter as Moscow retaliates against sweeping sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

But, as the mayor of the Greek port city of Chania on the island of Crete told Bild, "we don't need heating in the house."

"We invite every German who wants to come to us this winter to live here — away from the crises. Chania is the perfect place to survive a crisis winter: warm, friendly people and perhaps the best year-round climate in all of Europe," said the city's mayor, Panagiotis Simandirakis, per Bild.

"No German will freeze in Greece," said Simandirakis.

Berlin is trying to fill up natural-gas storage to 90% by the beginning of November. It's now 65% full, according to Germany's Federal Network Regulator, the country's energy regulator.

Berlin has already moved into the second stage of its three-stage emergency gas plan that could lead to rationing in its final stage if the situation worsens. Germany is reliant on piped natural gas from Russia, which accounts for 35% of its imports of the fuel. 

The chief of Germany's Federal Network Agency, the energy regulator, warned consumers on Thursday their monthly bills could triple next year due to falling Russian natural-gas imports, according to the RND news outlet. 

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