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Borrell: Spain has a “very good” position to help supply gas to the EU

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The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, advocates that the EU prepare “as soon as possible” for a possible cut in Russian gas, with savings in consumption, and considers that Spain is in a “very good” position to help supply that energy from other suppliers.

“We can’t suddenly say ‘come on, they’ve cut off our gas!’ We have to take measures and those measures are for savings, but there are measures to increase supply and Spain is in a very good position to help Europe have more gas that is not Russian gas,” Borrell said in a telephone interview with Efe.

The also vice president of the European Commission responded in this way when asked about the opposition of Spain and other countries of the community club to the proposal to cut 15% of gas consumption until next spring, which was presented on Wednesday by the president of the Community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen, and which the countries will discuss at the Extraordinary Energy Council next Tuesday in Brussels.

Borrell highlighted that 37% of the natural gas liquefaction capacities and 40% of the storage of this gas in the EU are in Spain, which long ago began to import from Algeria compared to other countries that “trusted solely and exclusively in the Russian”.

That capacity that Spain has “must be put at the service of all of Europe” to import more liquefied natural gas with large methane tankers and distribute a part through the few existing interconnections and another with smaller ships to other facilities in Italy or France, he pointed out.

Spain offered its gas infrastructure this Friday to be able to export gas at 6.7 terawatt hours (TWh) per month to the rest of the EU, instead of having to reduce gas consumption, according to sources from the Ministry for Ecological Transition.

HELP BALANCING THE SYSTEM

Despite the fact that “some countries are more dependent than others on Russian gas”, such as Germany, “the others have to contribute to balancing the system as a whole”, estimated the high representative, who supported, however, the possibility of helping in various ways shapes.

“Spain can contribute, of course. Now, there is no point in saving if the savings cannot be passed on to others. Savings are made so that there is more for others. That also depends on the interconnections available,” said Borrell.

The EU countries raised this Friday that the circumstances of each Member State be taken into account when applying the 15% cut in gas consumption.

For its approval, the proposal needs to obtain a qualified majority, that is, the support of 15 countries representing at least 65% of the population of the Twenty-seven. The procedure chosen, motivated by urgency, prevents the countries from vetoing the proposal.

“Without any coercive measures, without any plan, simply because each country has done its best to limit its imports” of Russian gas, by diversifying its suppliers, Europe has reduced its consumption by 20 percentage points since Russia began its war against Ukraine on 24 December. last February, from 40 to 20 percent, said Borrell, who opted to save “before reaching mandatory measures.”

Simply lowering the temperature by one degree in all of Europe is six percentage points less gas consumption, he explained, and also pointed out as a possible measure to reduce speed on motorways.

Europe, as a whole, “not the people who suffer from energy poverty”, has a “very large saving capacity, of self-limitation in energy consumption”, insisted the Spanish politician, estimating that certain “comfort levels” in heating they are not proper “in times of war”.

“COORDINATED AND EFFECTIVE” SOLIDARITY

He warned that this is the third asymmetric shock that the EU is facing, after the euro crisis and the pandemic.

But, he advocated “exercising solidarity” between the community partners, in a “coordinated and effective” way and avoiding “running to Moscow” as Hungary has done: “The solution is not to make love to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin “.

And it is that this attitude of the Hungarian Government left Borrell with “a very, very unpositive feeling” because, he asked himself, “how are we going to ask the African or Southeast Asian countries to take a hard line against Russia if we ourselves do not we have her”.

He also urged the EU to be “resistant”: “Putin is waiting for the rise in prices to generate an attitude in Western societies of fatigue and we cannot afford it. We cannot. We cannot leave Ukraine abandoned to its fate” .

Finally, Borrell celebrated the agreement reached between Russia and Ukraine, sponsored by the UN with mediation from Turkey, to export millions of tons of Ukrainian cereal by sea, which “if it had not been achieved, it would have been a tragedy.”

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