Macron buries the gas pipeline with Spain considering it unusable

The French president considers that the Midcat, which also supports Berlin, does not make sense despite the cut of supplies from Russia to a large part of Europe

Jose Maria Waiter

Full stop for the Midcat gas pipeline, the infrastructure called to definitively link the gas network of Spain with that of France through the Pyrenees. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has indicated that this installation would have "consequences" on the environment, and has questioned its need to overcome an energy crisis in Europe due to the lack of Russian gas.

“I am not convinced that we need more gas interconnections [entre Francia y España]whose consequences, especially in the environment and ecosystems, are very important”, Macron indicated at a press conference in reference to the Midcat project.

The Midcat project would allow Spain, but also Portugal, to transport liquefied natural gas from the United States or Qatar to central Europe, through France. But Macron considers that the two existing gas pipelines are not working at full capacity and that France "exports" even gas to Spain. “If we were to use our pipelines 100% and if there was currently a need to export gas to France, Germany or another, I would say yes, but it is not true,” he added.

The statements come just a few days after the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, agreed on Tuesday on the need to increase gas connections between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe, so that partners of the center and this ceases to depend on Russian arbitrariness.

There are two ways by which Spain can provide gas: France or Italy. And Sánchez did not rule out this last option this Tuesday, if the Executive of Emmanuel Macron rejected the gas pipeline through the Pyrenees from Catalonia. Sánchez recalled that interconnections with Europe are below 10%, "very far from the commitments we made." For this reason, he thanked "Germany's commitment" to clarify that if the current connections "are not carried out at the right pace, that of Italy is also on the table." In other words, if France opposes Midcat, the path of the gas pipeline through the Mediterranean will open up.

Sánchez recalled that interconnections with Europe are below 10%, "very far from the commitments we made". For this reason, he thanked "Germany's commitment" to clarify that if the current connections "are not carried out at the right pace, that of Italy is also on the table." In other words, if France opposes Midcat, the path of the gas pipeline through the Mediterranean will open up.

Aware of the privileged position that Spain has in this regard, since it has almost a third of all the regasifiers that the EU has (the points of the ports where the methane tankers arrive with liquefied natural gas), Pedro Sánchez has insisted on the need to improve connections to "help the countries that need it most". “We cannot have bottlenecks”, he has expressed. »Whether it is for France or for Italy, Spain has to show solidarity and heed the call of friendly countries«, he stated in his appearance together with Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

After that joint statement by the Spanish and German presidents, there was a timid pronouncement by France regarding the gas pipeline. The French Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, indicated that both countries are "friends" and that it is necessary to analyze their opinions. "From the moment they ask for it, from the moment friends ask for it, we examine the demand of our friends, of our partners," said the French head of the country's economic policy. Now his boss, Macron, has definitely closed that door.

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