Emmanuel Macron says gas prices are providing 'strong pressure'
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has seized his opportunity to capitalise on chaos in Europe and use his country’s leverage as an oil and gas superpower. On a chaotic day that saw European gas prices surge 40 percent in a few minutes, Mr Putin eased fears by offering to help stabilise the situation. He said the country could export record volumes of the vital fuel to the continent this year.
But Mr Macron appears to have been left infuriated by the EU’s reliance on Russian gas, stating: “We have to build our capacity to be less dependent.
“I think everybody now can completely identify the fact that when we speak about sovereignty, it means that.
“It means being less dependent on the others and it is critical for us.
“A lot of other European countries have nuclear plans, it’s about having a mix of your renewables.
“We don’t process that much gas – it’s about being more green and more sovereign.
“Clearly renewable and nuclear are the two options.”
It comes as Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said quick certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline would be one way to solve the crisis.
The pipeline is a deal struck between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Putin to transport gas from Russia into Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and Poland.
Many have slammed the deal as it could allow Mr Putin to “weaponise” gas.
Latest estimates say “around 40 percent” of the EU’s natural gas imports come from Russia.
Mr Putin has already restricted the flow of gas travelling into Europe in what is said to be a bid to avoid EU rules being implemented as it still awaits approval from German regulators before its gas flow can begin.
Official figures from Gazprom showed the decrease came via Belarus and Poland by 70 percent and via Ukraine by 20 percent in just one week.
Mr Macron’s comments interestingly come after the EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, renewed his pledge to allow the French people to vote in a referendum to “regain our legal sovereignty”.
He added: “We have to answer the questions that Brexit raised.”
It comes following his bid to oust Mr Macron in the 2022 French Presidential elections.
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In a move that resembles that of a staunch eurosceptic, Mr Barnier said his party would propose a halt to non-EU immigration and a referendum on France’s legal sovereignty from EU courts.
He told French TV: “The question of immigration is serious, it will cause ruptures.
“To deal with it, we are proposing a moratorium on immigration and a referendum to regain our legal sovereignty in certain areas.”
The French politician had already made the shocking proposal earlier this month, sparking controversy in France and across the bloc.
In an unexpected blow to Brussels, Mr Barnier said France should “no longer be subject to the rulings of the CJEU or the ECHR”.
The French Presidential candidate explained that regaining national sovereignty from EU courts would allow France to decide on its own immigration law.
He also called for “rebuilding French influence” in the face of Germany’s “domination” in the EU.
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