After years of deepening dependence on Germany regarding fossil imports from RussiaBerlin now seeks to march forced energy alternatives. The summer press conference offered this Thursday by the Federal Chancellor, Olaf Scholzreinforces that reality. The German head of government has publicly opted for the completion of a pipeline that connect the Iberian Peninsula with Central Europe as an alternative to North Stream 1 –still in operation but with a diminishing supply from Gazprom– and Nord Stream 2 –direct connection between Germany and Russia completed after a million-dollar investment, but paralyzed sine die after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine–.
The construction of a large gas pipeline connecting Portugal Y Spain with Germany and other Central European countries through France it would be “an enormous contribution to the relaxation of the current supply situation”, believes the chancellor. Scholz also claims to have spoken about it with the Spanish, Portuguese and French governments, and also with the president of the European Comissionalso German Ursula von der Leyento start the project.
Spain has the majority of liquefied gas transformer plants in the European Union as well as a gas pipeline that connects it with Algeria, its main gas supplier. The MidCat project to establish a gas pipeline connecting Central Europe with Spain through the south of France was paralyzed a few years ago to consider too expensive and when Russian gas was still a reliable and cheap source.
Spanish government sources have assured that the integration of energy policies European Unions has great advantages for all and requires greater and better coordination of infrastructures. “Spain has always shown its availability and has claimed a greater interconnection. This crisis shows the benefits of further European integration. We positively value the Foreign Minister’s message. It is vital that interconnections do not remain a bilateral issue and a greater involvement of the Commission and the Council will help speed up investments and comply with the interconnection goals to 2020 (10%) and 2030 (15%),” they have assured, reports Juanma Romero.
Asked if the construction of these infrastructures does not delay the abandonment of fossil energy sources and the transition towards a model with less CO2 emissionsthe chancellor considers that this criticism is a “mistake“. Scholz believes that liquefied gas transformation terminals and gas pipelines may be used in the future for the transportation of liquid hydrogen.
The traditional press conference offered by the Foreign Ministry every summer also had room for other topics. The tax relief package and direct aid to citizens to deal with the inflation unleashed by the war in Ukraine was one of them. Scholz has announced a new package of tax cut so that citizens can have more net income at the end of the month to face the increase in prices – Germany closed last July with inflation at 7.7% -.
Scholz has explicitly supported the proposal of his finance minister, the liberal Christian Lindnerto introduce tax cuts worth 10,000 million euros in 2023 and 2024. Lindner’s bill, which has not yet been approved in the cabinet led by Scholz, has received criticism from the Social Democrats and Green row, the other two parties that are members of the tripartite that rules Germany. Critics believe that the finance minister’s plans mainly benefit high-income households.
The Social Democratic chancellor insisted that the package of tax cuts is only part of his government’s plans. The increase in direct benefits for children, for vulnerable households or for the long-term unemployed will complement that tax relief, he assures him.
The current advance in prices, added to the energy crisis generated by the reduction of Russian gas, raises fears that Germany will face a wave of protests starting next fall, when household spending increases due to lower temperatures. and the need to heat homes with a heating system that, to a large extent, works with gas. Scholz rules out that his country is at the gates of a phenomenon similar to that of the French yellow vests: “The citizens are intelligent. I am sure that we will remain united.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.