Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday that his country has the capacity to become a European gas hub, which could help support regional efforts to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas imports.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, Sanchez declared that Spain already re-exported as much as 20% of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports to other EU countries in June. “Spain is prepared to increase its solidarity measures,” said Sanchez. According to the Socialist PM, Spain will do whatever it can to prevent Europe “becoming an energy hostage” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sanchez and Morawiecki met in Warsaw on Wednesday, as part of Polish-Spanish intergovernmental consultations. According to the official release, the two prime ministers discussed security, the war in Ukraine, energy and inflation.
Morawiecki stressed that Poland could likely reach full gas independence from Russia this year, thanks to its LNG terminals and timely decision to start constructing a Baltic pipeline running to Norway. “Even now, Russia is no longer able to blackmail us in the way it blackmails Germany, for example,” said the Polish PM.
The two heads of government also commented on the agreement reached by the EU member states to reduce their gas use by 15 percent – a voluntary reduction which could become obligatory in case of a supply emergency.
According to a draft agreement seen by Reuters, countries which have limited ability to export gas to its neighbours in the EU can request a lower target for reducing their gas supply. Countries like Spain, in this example, could instead offer a 7 percent reduction if they can demonstrate that they have sent most of the gas they can to their neighbours.
Sanchez stressed that his government is currently in talks with the private sector and the Spanish congress on a backup energy saving plan, which would enable it to meet this new target.