Germany’s Olaf Scholz and a delegation of top ministers are in Spain to discuss Europe’s growing energy crisis. Despite French opposition, both sides hope to breathe new life into the pipeline project.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz presented a joint front to revive the gas pipeline project, which needs France’s support.
Sanchez and Scholz met on Wednesday after a day of bilateral talks dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and energy concerns in Europe.
In the city of A Corua in northwest Spain, the government summit between Germany and Spain—which was last held in 2013—is currently underway.
What did both sides agree to?
Security, defense and energy issues dominated the bilateral discussions.
The determination of Spain and Germany to build a pipeline across the Pyrenees mountain range was one of the main topics.
“Thus, the construction of a large enough hydrogen-ready gas pipeline to be operational by 2025 is crucial to achieving a truly strong internal energy market in the EU, accelerating the green transition and strengthening the EU’s strategic autonomy,” a joint action plan said.
Both sides agreed to “significantly strengthen our deterrence and defense over the long term,” according to agreements reached at a NATO summit in June.
“Europe is not at peace,” the government statement said, adding that Berlin and Madrid stand in full solidarity with the Ukrainian government in the face of Russia’s aggression.
Germany and Spain underlined their commitment to a “feminist foreign policy” aimed at strengthening rights and representation for women and marginalized groups.
Scholz was accompanied by top cabinet ministers including Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock, Finance Minister Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner.
They were due to sign numerous bilateral agreements with their Spanish counterparts later on Wednesday evening.
Why is pipeline discussion difficult?
Germany, in particular, is keen to shore up natural gas pipeline options for Europe. Russia used to be Germany’s main supplier of natural gas, but Moscow has greatly reduced the flow of Russian gas to Europe.
Madrid and Berlin want to revive the Midcat gas pipeline that would run through France and connect the Iberian Peninsula to the rest of Europe.
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