Solidarity yes, but without accepting impositions on which the Spanish Government has not been consulted. “Spain does not support the proposal of the European Commission”, assured the Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera.
Spain accelerates its gas reserves for next winter and is emerging as an operations center to supply the EU
“They cannot demand a sacrifice from us on which they have not asked us for a prior opinion. We have not lived beyond our means from an energetic point of view. We are not going to allow proposals that demand more from us than from other countries”, she stressed.
The Government thus responds to the plan presented by the European Commission this morning, with a view to next winter. Brussels asks the States for a voluntary reduction of gas during the next eight months –from August 1 to March 31, 2023–, with the intention of reducing consumption by 15%. That reduction would be voluntary but, if Russia turns off the tap to the European Union, it would no longer be optional to become mandatory, although the plan still has to be approved by the governments of the Union.
“If there is a gas interruption, we will launch an alert”, announced the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. “We propose that each Member State reduce its consumption by 15%, the equivalent of 45,000 million cubic meters of gas, and with this we will be able to get through the winter without too many problems in the event of a total cut-off of Russian gas.”
“They have given us a ready-made menu”
“When you ask for support and help, you have to work with those who are asked for support and help,” he pointed out. “We are not going to be like others in other contexts,” Ribera assured in reference to how other European countries behaved with Spain during the last financial crisis. “But they have given us a menu designed without asking our food limitations”
Teresa Ribera has stressed on several occasions that Spain does not support this plan and that next week she will bring to Brussels a proposal for dialogue, based on three principles: “unity, solidarity and flexibility”. She will go with a formula of collaboration on what no other State of the European Union has, that “Spain is the gateway for 30% of the liquefied natural gas that enters Europe. For this reason, if a possible cut is carried out, this gas that arrives in Spain and goes out to other partners would have to be taken into account. In fact, she has assured that in the last month, 20% of the liquefied gas that has arrived in Spain has gone to other countries.
“The debate on June 26 is going to be timely, but this is not an issue that should be dealt with only by the energy ministers, but also by the European Council”, that is, the heads of state and government.
Last week, the manager of the gas network in Spain, Enagás, already announced that reserves for winter are accelerating significantly; as is also increasing in sending energy to France. “Spain made a great effort and today we can see the stage calmly. We cannot be optimistic because Europe is in a dramatic moment, but Spain is not, ”said his CEO, Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri.
“We are the third country in the world in terms of regasification plants. It was a vision of a peripheral country that was very far from the gas pipeline networks”, which has placed Spain in a situation similar to that of other geographically isolated markets, such as Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.