August 14, 2022

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The Spanish are very upset in Brussels because of the gas problem

They certainly do not support the European Commission’s plans to limit gas consumption; Hours after van der Leyen’s announcement, the deputy prime minister of the always pro-EU Sanchez government spoke about it in an unusually sharp tone.

As a reminder, the European Commission announced on Wednesday that the target is for all member states to reduce their gas consumption by 15 percent between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. According to President Ursula von der Leyen, it is inevitable that member states work together, part of which is reducing consumption.

Spain’s deputy prime minister, head of the portfolio responsible for the green transition, did not leave it unsaid, and in a press conference hours after Van der Leyen’s announcement, he vehemently opposed the idea, saying it would not be taken into account. How dependent is a country on Russian gas? – Wrote it The famous Spanish daily El País. Teresa Ribera said. “We cannot accept such an unequal sacrifice that we are not even consulted before.”. He criticized the very plan he believed in “Not the most useful, not the most efficient, not the best”Add:

Spanish families will not suffer from gas shortages in their homes.

“Spain defends European values ​​and pursues solidarity with the rest of the EU, but not at the expense of residential and industrial consumers” – Ribera said, adding: In his opinion, they are already paying too many bills “They don’t deserve capping or rationing.”. Madrid is in solidarity with other member states, but according to him, it can primarily help those who receive gas through the pipeline with its infrastructure.

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El Bois calls Ribera’s move unusually harsh, and notes that the Brussels plan doesn’t differentiate between individual states in terms of the 15 percent cut, even in terms of how dependent they are on Russian gas, the idea being to leave. More gas from non-Russian suppliers, meaning dependence on Russian gas will eventually decrease. These are harsh words, according to the newspaper, as relations are otherwise good with European officials who have approved a cap on household electricity prices.

“We Spaniards don’t stretch our blankets like others, Spain has done its homework and over the years has paid a higher price than our European partners” – said the Deputy Minister; This provision is a reference to the large number of LNG terminals that have been built in recent years; In any case, in relation to infrastructure, according to Ribera’s logic, Spain can act as a kind of gateway to other countries, from which liquefied gas can come to other European states. By definition, Spain was not dependent on the Russians.

Then they could hear familiar rhetoric from the deputy prime minister: Spain resists pressure, insists on open and respectful dialogue, Ribera

– Who is going to Tuesday’s Energy Ministers’ Summit, “To protect Spanish interests”

He added: “They cannot support the introduction of regulations or restrictions that apply to all consumers.” (At this point, the target Spanish may also be known Additional Profits Tax)

Spain actually has a huge capacity for reprocessing, storage and transportation, in essence their LNG capacity is 30 percent of Europe’s, which if available to Spain, would be very good for the old continent, especially if Russia actually stops supply completely. Gas to Europe.

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In any case, Ribera’s outrage, especially at the lack of prior consultation, was intense; It will be a bitter pill to swallow even for pro-EU Spaniards. In particular, the emergency plan will be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of EU energy ministers on July 26 in Brussels.

As this resolution can be passed with a qualified majority, Spain cannot stop the process alone.

(A small deviation to the right of the veto: Pedro Sanchez, together with Mark Rutte, previously called for the partial abolition of the right of veto to “disable” Hungary and Poland; however, in this situation, he may now have to reconsider the whole matter, thereby partially surrendering their sovereignty. Countries will have at least some problems A last resort)

Otherwise, the 15 percent reduction in consumption demanded by the Commission would mean 45 billion cubic meters from August to March, while the EU normally buys 115 billion cubic meters from the Russians – so the question is whether this kind of consumption reduction is enough. , especially if the Russians actually cut off the gas entirely.

Opening image: Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera and Danish Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen at the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council meeting in Luxembourg on June 27.

Photo: MTI