The Government is carrying out an intense offensive in search of support from the European Union in order to moderate electricity prices, an issue in which President Pedro Sánchez has compromised his credibility. The Vice President of the Government for the ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, participates today in the informal Council of Energy Ministers held in Slovenia, where she will reiterate the proposal that he launched this Monday through a letter to the European Commission in which he asked for help and formulas to be able to moderate the rise in the price of electricity. This is the third management this week that the Government makes with this objective, after the intervention on Tuesday of the Secretary of State for the EU, Juan González Barba, in the Council of Ministers of General Affairs in which he already announced that the president of the Pedro Sánchez Government will try to have the issue dealt with at the European summit scheduled for October 21.
The letter to the Commission was signed by Ribera and the vice president, Nadia Calviño, and in it they imply that they are not sure that the measures that the Government has adopted with this objective are working as effectively as they intend and that they may not be of the all in accordance with European legislation. Although in the letter they maintain that the steps that the Government has taken so far to moderate the price are in accordance with Community legislation, they also asked the Commission to evaluate them with the same benevolence with which they assure that it has taken with respect to the measures that other countries have adopted, which they do not cite, and which imply that such a case would be doubtfully legal. “Spain – they say in the letter – has fully complied with European standards despite the political sensitivity of the current crisis. Other countries have adopted less orthodox measures and the Commission has maintained a cautious approach. We expect at least similar treatment. The discussion document was addressed to the Executive Vice President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, who is in charge of the Green Deal agenda, Margrethe Vestager who is responsible for the Competition portfolio, and Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy. Only the latter is present at today’s informal meeting of ministers in which Rivera participates.
Spain’s proposal that the issue of electricity prices be dealt with at the next summit has been supported by other countries, including Italy, although the Government of Rome, which has taken more drastic measures than Spain to contain the rise in prices of the electricity bill, he recognizes that it is a problem that is not only limited to the European market, but also has to do with other global players.
It is the same thing that the European Commission said yesterday, which confirmed that it had received the letter from the two vice-presidents in which they asked the EU executive to develop “guidelines that allow member states to react during periods of tension in the energy market” having note that ‘if the rules of the game are set at European level, remedies should too’ so that ‘Member States should not have to improvise ad-hoc measures every time markets malfunction and then wait for the Commission to do not oppose them.
The Commission has replied that it will study the letter in time but that it maintains its opinion that the increases in electricity are due “to multiple factors”, the most relevant of which is the international price of gas, while increases in the price of emissions (which if regulated on a European scale) “only represent a small percentage of the final price” of electricity. The spokespersons of the Commission have not yet been very enthusiastic about the idea proposed by the Spanish vice-presidents to design from Brussels “a menu of European policies pre-designed to react immediately to dramatic price increases” and a reform of the energy market wholesaler to “pass on the benefits of renewable technologies to consumers.” Brussels states that before entering into this discussion it is necessary to “correctly analyze” the current situation and identify well the causes of the rise in electricity bills so as not to make a mistake in strategy.