The Russian invasion of Ukraine is already having an effect on the European economy, especially due to the exponential increase in energy prices. The Spanish Government maintains that it will be one of the least affected by this crisis thanks to the diversification of sources and is at the disposal of the rest of the countries to facilitate the interconnections that allow energy to be sent from Spain. Now, what Pedro Sánchez defends is that the infrastructure is the responsibility of the European budgets. In addition, he defends that it should not only be for gas but include clean energies, such as green hydrogen, an energy vector that Spain aspires to lead in the next decade.
"The debate on interconnections is not a problem for Spain, it is for other countries," said the president in an informal conversation with journalists on the plane in which he traveled to Latvia to visit a NATO detachment. Sánchez called the president of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a few days ago and the North African president assured him that the gas supply from that country is guaranteed.
Sánchez defends that the infrastructure that is carried out be for "green gas and hydrogen and financed from European budgets." "The Spaniards already pay for the regasification plants. The price of regasification is paid by consumers. If we want to make our reserve capacities available to Europe, which are above 60% when the EU is at 30%, Spain has to finance it, not but Europe", explained the president, who believes that there will be no problem on the part of Brussels. Given that "it will take years to materialize the infrastructure that is compatible with green hydrogen," added Sánchez.
Spain has the largest network of regasification plants in Europe, a critical infrastructure in the current energy crisis due to its capacity to unload the liquefied natural gas (LNG) that arrives by ship, at a time when there is a risk of an interruption in supply from Russia. The European Commission supports the idea of turning Spain into a large European gas reception hub. But the problem is getting that gas to Europe. The energy regulators of Spain and France knocked down the Midcat project in 2018 to build a gas pipeline through the Pyrenees. The project now seems to begin to gain new momentum. Although much of the preliminary work has already been done, its construction would take years and would not resolve the current situation. But Sánchez has already advanced that he wants it to be financed with European funds.
The president maintains that the war must serve to strengthen the EU. One of the debates that he believes should be accelerated is that of the fiscal rules in which Spain has been defending the maintenance of flexibility for some time. In the conversation with journalists, the president has defended that it be a proposal that "stimulates growth, guarantees fiscal sustainability and addresses digital and ecological transformation." The socialist welcomes the fact that the European Commission speaks of "depending on the economic forecasts, the fiscal ones will be seen".
He also considers that the time has come to address the Pact on Migration and Asylum and that there is an opportunity now that the countries that opposed it, such as Poland or Hungary, are the ones that are most affected by the situation in Ukraine. "Spain is going to set an example as we have always given on this issue," she said about receiving refugees. The Minister of Social Security, Inclusion and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, will announce at the end of the week the capacity that Spain will provide, according to what he has said.
The president does not dare to make a forecast of how the Russian invasion will unfold, but has repeated that Putin has made "mistakes" in thinking that Ukraine was not going to defend itself, that the EU was going to falter and that there would be no unity in NATO . In any case, he considers that the movement that China or Turkey have made is "interesting" and wants to see if the "intermediation of countries that Putin recognizes" has an effect.