EU civil war: France and Spain lock horns over pipeline as bloc scrambles to CUT off Putin

UK serves key role in saving EU from energy crisis says expert

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Plans for a new gas pipeline linking the two countries were put on ice several years ago after energy regulators deemed the proposal unprofitable. But as the bloc is desperate to end its reliance on Russia, which supplies 40 percent of its gas, the project has come back into the spotlight. The EU has published a new energy strategy detailing how it will slash Russian energy imports by up to two thirds by the end of the year, and completely scupper ties by 2030.

But the plan did not include any mention of the MIDCAT interconnection infrastructure project.

The blueprint for the line indicates that it would stretch through the eastern Pyrenees and would connect the Spanish grid to France and the rest of Europe by extension.

But disagreements over the plans has sent tensions soaring within the bloc.

Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Minister for the Ecological Transition, has slammed France for a lack of engagement on the plans.

She claimed that there has been lack of much-need investments from the French.

She argued that Spain in comparison has been strong in its efforts to push forward with the project and boost Europe’s energy security.

Ms Ribera said at a forum set up by EY and La Vanguardia: “On the other side of the Pyrenees, considerable investments are needed to connect this gas pipeline to the trunk system.”

Spain appears to be frustrated with France’s hesitancy to push forward with the project.

Ms Ribera said if the pipeline was built, it should not be paid for by Spanish taxpayers, who already have to fork out extra cash for Europe’s energy security.

But Jean-Michel Casa, French ambassador in Madrid, has claimed France is willing to discuss the viability of the project again.

It comes after France had appeared unwilling to submit to the calls from Spain to build the link.

He said in an interview with La Vanguardia: “Now that the underlying situation has changed, is it necessary to talk about Midcat? Let’s talk.

Mr Casa suggested that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez may discuss this with President Emmanuel Macron in his upcoming visit to the French capital.

Spain has not been shy to press the EU to take not of its large scale gas capacity as an option for slashing energy ties with Putin.

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Spain has the largest fleet of liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals that could be used to store and convert transportable gas.

But it has argued that only has limited pipelines to export that converted gas to other countries.

Part of the EU’s plot to scupper energy links with Russia does involving ramping up imports of LNG from alternative suppliers.

And Spain appears to be arguing that it could play a key role in boosting the continent’s energy security.

Ms Ribera said: “It makes sense that this large capacity we have can improve our neighbours’ security of supply.”

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