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Sánchez and Scholz will address the gas connection of the Peninsula during a summit in Madrid in October

2022-08-13T20:57:41.246Z

Spain relies on German support to overcome resistance from the European Commission and France Pedro Sánchez and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on the left, in January at La Moncloa. Andrea Comas The progress towards an EU energy market and the connection of the Iberian Peninsula to the European gas network will be central axes of the Spanish-German summit, which will be held in Madrid in October after seven years, according to government sources. The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, w



Pedro Sánchez and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on the left, in January at La Moncloa. Andrea Comas

The progress towards an EU energy market and the connection of the Iberian Peninsula to the European gas network will be central axes of the Spanish-German summit, which will be held in Madrid in October after seven years, according to government sources.

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who already visited La Moncloa in January and attended the NATO Summit in Madrid in June, will return to the Spanish capital in October at the head of a large representation of his tricolor government (social democrats, liberals and green ) to co-chair a summit with Sánchez that had not been repeated since her predecessor, Angela Merkel, received Mariano Rajoy in Berlin in August 2015.

Sources from La Moncloa have not clarified whether Scholz notified Sánchez before defending, on Thursday, the construction of a gas pipeline that would link Spain and Portugal with Central Europe and would be "decisive" to alleviate the dependence on Russian gas from countries like Germany, exposed to the blackmail of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to turn off the tap at any moment.

In any case, the matter had been addressed months ago by officials of both governments and the German support for the project has been welcomed in Madrid.

In March, after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Sánchez proposed to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the recovery of the MidCat project, through the Catalan Pyrenees, which would double the capacity of gas export to Europe.

With six operating LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) regasification plants, Spain has 40% of the regasification capacity and a third of the storage capacity of the EU, for which Sánchez defends that the Peninsula could become a large hub that receives gas from methane tankers coming from the United States, Africa or the Persian Gulf and from the gas pipelines that connect it with Algeria (provided that the current diplomatic crisis does not end up affecting the supply of fuel) to distribute it to the rest of Europe, ceasing to be as now an energy island that is far from reaching the interconnection objectives set by the EU: 10% in 2020 and 15% in 2030.

The culmination of the work, government sources warn, will depend on the EU assuming its financing and speeding up the procedures to start it up.

The MidCat was included in the list of Projects of Common Interest of the EU since 2013, but it declined in 2019, due to the opposition of environmental groups and the high cost of a work that contradicted the European decision to move towards the abandonment of fossil fuels .

To convince the European Commission to take up the project and give it urgent processing, the Spanish Government alleges that the tube would not only transport gas, but that in the future it would be the supply route for green hydrogen, generated by low-emission renewable energies. and compatible with the European objectives against global warming.

Although the main battle is being waged in Brussels, the Spanish Government does not hide that Berlin's support represents a very important boost for its aspirations, especially before France, a country that has opted for nuclear energy and has never shown interest in expanding energetic connections with its neighbors south of the Pyrenees.

Scholz's support for the gas pipeline with the Iberian Peninsula comes at the height of the honeymoon between Germany and Spain.

In October, not only will the Spanish-German summit be held, but the King and Queen will make a state visit to Berlin and travel to Frankfurt to tour the book fair, where Spain is this year's guest of honor.

The rotating presidency of the EU, which Spain will hold in the second half of 2023, increases Berlin's interest in seeking an axis with Madrid.

To promote relations between the two most important European countries with a social democratic ruler, Germany has sent a woman as ambassador to Madrid for the first time: the diplomat Maria Gosse.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-08-13

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