Vitality interconnections are greater than essential in these instances of “European solidarity” pressured by the vitality disaster. One undertaking illustrates the difficulties: the MidCat fuel pipeline between Spain and France, which places the most important financial powers on the continent again to again.
The President of the European Fee, Ursula von der Leyen, nevertheless, hammered it dwelling 11 instances throughout her anticipated State of the Union speech to MEPs on Wednesday (September 14): “solidarity” between nations of the EU is important, each for the peoples of the Union and for the salvation of the Ukrainians.
And confronted with the insecurity that the continent goes by way of, the primary type of solidarity is vitality. Fairly an emblem in relation to overcoming the issue of shifting from phrases to deeds, as illustrated by the tensions over the resumption of the MidCat fuel interconnection undertaking between Spain and France, stalled since 2019.
On September 5, the President of the French Republic advised the press that “there is no such thing as a proof of want” to revive this undertaking. In line with him, the present state of affairs didn’t require a name for air in fuel exchanges between France and Spain, insofar as the 2 present fuel pipelines had been solely used at 53% of their capability.
Due to this fact, and in keeping with Emmanuel Macron, what curiosity for European solidarity in involving the Pyrenean area in heavy work for its environmental well being if the consequences don’t reply to the urgency of the present vitality disaster?
In line with some specialists, actuality proves Emmanuel Macron proper, if solely as a result of because the sketch of the undertaking 22 years in the past, its scale has shrunk, earlier than constituting solely a minor interconnection between two close by cities. regasification terminals.
Moreover, Europe is importing an increasing number of liquefied pure fuel to counter the decline in imports by way of Russian fuel pipelines and is growing 10 further LNG terminal initiatives to this finish, together with 5 in Germany.
Nonetheless, from August 11, Chancellor Olaf Scholz chanted that the undertaking was “dramatically” missing in Europe. However on the similar time, the nation confirms the closure of its final nuclear energy crops, despite the fact that the emergency would require their upkeep.
This hypocrisy irritated determination makers throughout Europe, to the purpose that Take Aanstoot of Sweden’s Inexperienced Occasion, said on Twitter that “if Germany doesn’t [prenait] no accountability for its vitality safety, [il] will suggest to [son] authorities to chop the cable [électrique] of the Baltic ».
Due to this fact, the French president stated he was not satisfied of the arguments of the German head of presidency, however fast to dialogue with its European companions in the event that they display the usefulness of the MidCat undertaking.
Spain and France begin talks
Following these positions, the Spanish Vitality Ministers, Teresa Ribera, and France, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, took benefit of the Extraordinary Council of European Vitality Ministers held final Friday (9 September) to debate the creation a bunch of specialists who can be chargeable for figuring out the usefulness of the undertaking for the winter of 2023-2024.
Earlier than that, Teresa Ribera repeated many instances that this undertaking might materialize in lower than a 12 months, urging France to “desirous about how one can assist others” throughout an interview with Spanish radio Onda Cero. For his half, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, has been growing discussions with the German Chancellor for a number of weeks.
Furthermore, if ever MidCat didn’t achieve re-emerging, the Spaniards and Germans have a plan B: divert France by a brand new sub-Mediterranean fuel pipeline in direction of Italy, from Barcelona to Livorno.
As well as, the defenders of the undertaking have tried to enchantment to the European authorities to maneuver the file ahead and finance the required two billion euros, however the European Fee has kicked in contact.
Requested about this, Tim McPhie, the Fee’s vitality and local weather spokesperson, recalled at a press convention that the undertaking was now not thought-about a European undertaking of widespread curiosity (PCI), and that even when he was once more “fossil gasoline infrastructure [n’avait] now not entitled to funding, however hydrogen sure”.
Precisely. In line with the Spanish authorities, the MidCat undertaking isn’t just a fuel undertaking, since it is usually a “Computer virus” for the European Union’s hydrogen technique. “And it isn’t one thing we made up, however moderately what the RepowerEU plan says”defended the CEO of Enagás, Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri, throughout the seventh European Vitality Discussion board organized by the Spanish media El Economista.
With out even addressing the topic of hydrogen, Spain has each curiosity in motivating the resumption of this undertaking. Together with his six terminals, the nation has a liquefied pure fuel import capability 12 instances larger than its export capability, which may very well be halved by the MidCat undertaking.
The issue is far the identical for Portugal which, by way of the voice of its Prime Minister, provides the undertaking a personality ” important “.
Spain subsequently seeks to make its investments worthwhile and, to take action, salivates its privileged relationship with the Maghreb authorities, main suppliers of assets for Europe.
On the German aspect, this undertaking stems from the vigor of their diplomacy, pretending that, regardless of their inner technique, if the primary financial system of the EU dangers scarcity, all of Europe might collapse.
France, caught in a vice, is making an attempt to withstand the straightforward manner out, questioning concerning the viability of such a undertaking in the long run, whereas Europe desires to get out of fossil fuels.
This undertaking subsequently displays the divisions that happen in relation to shifting from phrases to acts of solidarity. Addressing a cussed France, an opportunistic Spain and a proud Germany, the President of the European Individuals’s Occasion (right-wing – EPP), Manfred Weber, replied on the microphone of EURACTIV, on the finish of the speech on the state of the Union, that “we want management now”.
Clearly, neighborhood quarrels mustn’t make us overlook that in instances of disaster, the symbolism of the measures counts simply as a lot as their pragmatism.