why Spain, Portugal and Hungary say “no” to Brussels

Wednesday, July 20, when the European Commission proposed to reduce gas consumption by 15% throughout Europe, Spain saw red. “We do not claim sacrifices without proportion“, thus brought the Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, in addition for a plan in which “we were not even consultedHis intervention will take place a few hours after the presentation of Brussels’ plan.

Spain is very independent from Russia: almost half (46%) of its consumption comes from Algeria and Morocco, the rest is liquefied natural gas bought in Qatar, Nigeria and the United States. Madrid says it is a unity with the countries tributary to Moscow, but not at the expense of its own consumers and industrialists, who, moreover, are already paying a high price for their freedom.

What Spain proposes, to show despite everything that it is united, is to use its infrastructure. Spain is the champion of liquefied gas in Europe: it has a very large storage capacity. It also knows how to regasify it, while few European countries have the capacity. The country’s six power stations alone manage almost 40% of the total capacity of continental Europe. “We can use our capacities“Madrid said in essence, it will be as effective and above all fairer than an undifferentiated energy stability plan, which treats everyone equally.

Portugal is on the same line, not wanting this plan but not for the same reasons. Portugal is a good student: it invests a lot in solar and wind power. At the point 70% of its electricity comes from green energy. Prime Minister Antonio Costa does not see why the Portuguese should tighten their belts when other countries in the Union can diversify well by switching to renewable energies.

In 2008, during the financial crisis, the countries of the South were widely criticized for excessive spending, but the roles of cicadas and ants were reversed.

The Iberian Peninsula, qualified “energy island” by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, now one of the keys to the future of the European energy mix and finds himself in a strategic position. DMany voices have also been raised to relaunch the Midi-Catalonia gas pipeline project, which will ensure gas interconnection between Spain and France, which has not been exploited much for several years.

Athens is on the same line and ruled that the reduction would cause supply disruptions to individuals and businesses

Another country distanced itself from Brussels, but in a different style: Hungary, which once again isolated itself and turned to Vladimir Putin instead of following the rules of Brussels. This Thursday, July 21, the head of Hungarian diplomacy was in Moscow to validate the purchase of 700 million additional cubic meters of gas – in addition to the contracts already planned.

In the current context, whether we like it or not”, this is it”it’s just not possible” to get rid of this excess “Without Russian input, this is a reality” said Péter Szijjártó, said to be close to the Kremlin. “We can give false hopes, we can dream, we can blow the wind, but facts and physical reality are stubborn”.

During the press conference, with tables and small flags, which was broadcast on state television channels, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov explained at length that, despite the European sanctions, Russia wants to develop its relationship. “strategic” along with Hungary – which imports 80% of its gas from Russia.

More than ever, Viktor Orban, who condemned the invasion of Ukraine, remains in an ambiguous position vis-à-vis Russia. Hungarian PM continues to blame sanctions policy: EU”shot himself in the lung“, according to him, it is necessary to change the course. PA landlocked country in Central Europe, with no access to the sea, Hungary imports 65% of its oil and 80% of its gas from Russia. And worried about the risk of shortage: a “state of emergency” even ordered last week.

The isolation from the rest of Europe was all the more shocking since, on the same day, Berlin accused Moscow of being a “increasing the uncertainty factor“on the European energy market, after Nordstream’s resumption of delivery levels”weak“and”unreliable“.

The crisis between the Union and Moscow tested the unity of the 27. On Tuesday July 26 the energy ministers met at a summit in Brussels: they have a lot of work to succeed in tuning their violins.

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