Teresa Ribera, Minister for Ecological Transition, has lashed out harshly against the Brussels plan to force EU countries to reduce gas consumption by 15% during the autumn and winter months. According to Ribera, this plan is “neither the most effective, nor the most efficient, nor the fairest”.
“We have strategic reserves. We have done our homework. We have achieved a very solid position” in terms of security of supply, said Ribera. “Reducing homogeneously is not a neutral measure”. In southern countries such as “Spain and Portugal”, she said, a 15% cut in gas would have a brutal impact on the economy, which would go to “zero growth”… “They cannot demand a sacrifice from us for which we have not been asked for an opinion”, said Ribera. She added that “we have not lived beyond our means in terms of energy”.
Ribera reacts in this way against the “save gas for a safe winter” plan announced by the European Commission. The Commission has proposed that all EU countries voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by 15% until next spring in order to prepare for a possible cut in Russian supplies, and that, in the event of an emergency, the cut should be obligatory.
“Russia is blackmailing us, using energy as a weapon. Therefore, whether the cut is partial or total, Europe must be prepared,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, presenting the contingency plan for an increasingly plausible scenario given that Moscow has already reduced or stopped supplies to 12 EU partners.
Spain rebels against a plan that it considers does not take into account the situation of each country. It thus joins other voices, such as those of Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal, who this week warned that there are countries that have done their homework and are more prepared than others to face an energy crisis derived from gas cuts, because they have diversified more. Costa said that solidarity, yes, but only the right kind.