Monday, March 4

Sánchez and Scholz insist on pressuring France for the gas pipeline and agree to strengthen defense cooperation

Strengthen the Madrid-Berlin axis in a new stage in which the victory of the extreme right in Italy leaves that country, in the opinion of the Spanish Government, in a delicate international situation. That was one of Pedro Sánchez’s objectives at the high-level summit that he held together with the Foreign Minister, Olaf Scholz, and the participation of seven ministers from each country. On the table were the energy crisis and defense policy. Both issues appear both in the joint declaration and in the action plan agreed by the two governments. Sánchez and Scholz reiterate their alliance to promote the Midcat gas pipeline, which would facilitate the delivery of energy from the Iberian Peninsula to central Europe in the face of Emmanuel Macron’s opposition, and they also commit to promoting cooperation in defense matters, although the controversy over the missile shield that Germany wants to promote does not appear in the documents.

“We will continue to advocate for a greater interconnection capacity of the Iberian Peninsula to strengthen its contribution to the security of supply of the EU as a whole”, states the joint action plan in reference to Midcat. What it does not include is a common front to put a price cap on the gas with which electricity is produced at a European level, which is one of the aspects that Sánchez has vehemently defended in Brussels. “A future-proof design of the European electricity market is necessary to ensure support for the decarbonisation of the sector and of the European economies as a whole,” the statement simply says.

“Both countries agree that the green energy transition is the right solution to ensure a secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply throughout the EU, and that it is essential to increase interconnections and deploy new energy carriers, such as renewable hydrogen and carbon dioxide. energy storage”, adds the text to which has had access.

But in recent hours, what has become more relevant regarding the summit has been the security and defense policy after the German ambassador assured that there were talks about the anti-missile shield that Scholz proposed to reinforce in August. Moncloa categorically denied that “the Government of Spain has received any proposal or communication in this regard.” The diplomat referred to the “low level” of these alleged conversations that government sources say they are unaware of and that, in any case, may have been unofficial.

However, security and defense policy focus a large part of the purposes that both countries have set for themselves in the development of their relations and the negotiation of the declaration has been measured to the millimeter. “Both countries agree on the importance of reinforcing cooperation in the field of armaments and the defense industry to strengthen European defense capabilities,” says the document, from which the allusion to the “field of air defense” has disappeared. It was in one of the drafts.

At a time when military spending has become an element of tension within the coalition, Sánchez reiterates his commitments to the allies. “Spain and Germany are determined to intensify their cooperation in the application of the Madrid Strategic Concept, approved at the NATO Summit in June, and to strengthen EU-NATO cooperation. They are also determined to develop the Common Security and Defense Policy, to execute the Strategic Compass through concrete actions and to collaborate in PESCO projects”, the statement states.

The governments of Spain and Germany have sealed a joint action plan to develop bilaterally and within the framework of the EU with six fundamental axes. In addition to security and defense, they set objectives in terms of cooperation in foreign policy that go through migrations and make a mention of the southern neighborhood, which is especially relevant for the Sánchez Executive. We will continue our close cooperation to advance EU-Africa relations, especially in the context of a challenging geopolitical environment.

Joint Declaration XXV Spanish-German Summit by Irene Castro on Scribd