“Audacity”. After attempting the complaint, the warning of a risk of protests in the streets and proposing technical solutions, the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, this week redoubled its lobby in Europe to attempt a profound reform of the electricity market appealing to the heart and head: “We have asked the Commission to be bold in its response. We are facing an unprecedented crisis that requires extraordinary, innovative measures. forceful on the part of the EU to be able to contain the rise of the prices of the light “, said this Wednesday Sánchez from the outskirts of Ljubljana, where he is attending the Summit of the Union with the Balkans.
The strategy has been underway for weeks and has not finished taking shape, but Spain, in an unusual attitude, is tightening instead of loosening. The president from Slovenia has asked for audacity, It has been demanded by Vice President Ribera from Luxembourg, where she meets with her colleagues to address this issue among others. And they are constantly putting it on the table by the MEPs of the PSOE, Podemos or Izquierda Unida these days in Strasbourg, in the plenary session of the European Parliament.
The Spanish Government, together with France, Romania, Greece or the Czech Republic believes that much more aggressive measuresfrom a long-term EU strategy to jointly buy and store gas, which could try to fight volatility at more geopolitical moments, to an in-depth reform of the regulatory framework of the wholesale market, something that does not convince neither in Brussels nor in several capitals.
“The Government has proposed these weeks, before the escalation of the wholesale price and the rise in the price of gas, a series of measures under the same sense: it is a European issue because it affects all countries. Some with more incidence, such as the Iberian Peninsula because we are an energetic island, but if we are all vulnerable, what is evident is that in addition to the Government’s measures to cushion all the rise, we have to provide a European solution, a response that will allow us to consolidate the recovery after 20 months of pandemic. We also have to consolidate the pace of decarbonization so that Europe continues to be global in an ecological transition and to consolidate the social support of all groups in the fight against climate change, “said Sánchez this afternoon at the end of the meeting. “Spain has requested that the debate be provoked. ”
National governments have limited scope for action under current legislation. They can do things in the retail market, moving from suppliers to households, but they can do much less in setting pressure on generation. Madrid and Paris believe that it is time to open that melon for the European Commission is very skeptical and has made it clear that its preference is “to act, but not to overact”, in the words of Commissioner Gentiloni. “There is no reluctance among the partners. Every time there is a conviction at the table of the European Council and the Commission that the answer is European and that it is not valid with ‘business as usual’. The increase is so indite that it requires innovative proposals , forceful, audacious, those that we have put on the table, susceptible to be debated “, has assured the Spanish president from the outskirts of Slovenia.
Sánchez, Rivera and Calvio have bought first-hand that appetite is limited, that not all countries have the same urgency despite the fact that electricity prices have skyrocketed throughout the continent, and that in much of the EU there is more concern about not compromising the green transition and the fight against climate change than about lowering the electricity bill. But Not everywhere the Executive has promised that electricity will be below the price of 2018, nor in all of them do they have presidential elections in spring, as it happens in the France of the yellow vests, a movement that emerged as a protest against the rise in the price of diesel. “The proposals from Spain have been good, they have opened a debate, they have created awareness. There will be different steps in the coming weeks. and on October 22 there will be an in-depth debate in the European Council on what measures we are going to implement “, insisted Snchez.
The debate is in the EU, but not at the level or with the intensity that Moncloa needs. On Wednesday night, in Ljubljana, at the informal dinner held by the 27 heads of state and government, two leaders raised the issue, according to European sources: Sánchez and Andrej Babis from the Czech Republic. Nobody else. The issue is on the agenda of the ministers, who will address it next day 11. On that of the Commission, which will offer a conservative menu of options on the 12th. month in Brussels, but the Spaniard does not want to miss any opportunity. He understands that the only solution to the problem is European, but also It needs the debate to be totally European so that the Spaniards, and their possible voters, see that it is not a solely national problem, which is not only a challenge for your Executive, but affects everyone, in one way or another.
The chances of success don’t seem very high right now. There does not seem to be much interest in touching a very complicated market whose formation and liberalization has cost a quarter of a century with endless nightmares. The Commission is inclined to offer solutions of another kind and Germany, without a formed government and with the Greens being a key piece of any coalition, is not going to move in the line that Moncloa needs. But everything will depend on what happens in the markets and the pressure that other countries bear. And of the inflation levels (underlying or not) at the end of the year. In the last two days the price of gas has risen 60% and futures in the Netherlands or the United Kingdom are out of control. And the CEO of Gazprom, the Russian company, predicts a cold winter, which means high income in a country that is turning off the tap in one of the most tense moments.
The commissioner of Energa, Kadri simson, has explained this morning to the plenary session of the European Parliament that its line of action is not going to touch the market. He agreed that the EU must react quickly and in a coordinated manner, and stressed the well-known measures that Member States already have to help the most vulnerable families and businesses. But nothing from the fringe market. The European Commission will propose, probably in December, a reform of the gas market to make it more resistant to price increases, perhaps incorporating some of Spain’s ideas for purchasing and warehousing, but nothing more profound is expected, since Brussels estimates that after the first quarter of 2022 prices will settle at levels more manageable. “It would be a shame and it would solve very little for the Commission to come up with a minimum proposal in which it basically systematizes what has been existing. What exists we already know, we have applied it and it is not enough,” said Vice President Ribera in statements collected by Europa Press in Luxembourg, where he attends a meeting of EU energy ministers. “It takes a bold proposal. In exceptional situations we need exceptional measures, it is not enough to clarify that taxation can be used, that the transfer of public budget to the electricity system can be used or that the most vulnerable consumers can be protected. All this is not only obvious but we are already doing it, “he added with some irritation.
The president has ruled out more drastic unilateral measures, such as those seen in France, because “you have to go step by step” but he has not ruled out, if there is no agreement to 27, using the mechanism of enhanced cooperation, an EU instrument that allows actions between partners when there are at least nine willing to go ahead when the rest are reluctant. And that the interested parties make the joint purchase.
The president has also spoken from Slovenia about the position of the People’s Party before a bill whose details are not yet known. “You cannot say no to a bill that has not been read or debated in the courts. You can not close the door to all kinds of agreement for a problem of society. We want to make housing not a problem, as it is today, but a right, that is why we put balanced responses on the table based on absolute respect for private property. Our age of emancipation of the young is unacceptable, absurd, superior to the European Union. It is a law committed to one of the deficits of this country, social housing. In our country, public housing has been placed in the hands of investment funds. It is a committed, responsible and balanced law “, stated Pedro Snchez.
The Popular Party has already warned that to appeal the law and not to apply it in the autonomous communities in which the Government. “I would ask the opposition to read the text before saying that it is going to appeal it and that it give the parliamentary procedure a chance. People have a problem with access to housing and that has nothing to do with voting for the right. , left or center. It is a real problem and the public powers have to turn it into a right, a right to housing, say. I am deeply proud that this government has been able, in the midst of a pandemic, to put on its feet for the first time in 40 years of democracy a state housing bill, which deserves the respect of all forces. I would like the opposition to reconsider to turn this into a great national agreement, “he has settled.
The Bank of Spain is skeptical of the social bonus for young people, fearing that owners will automatically raise rents. The president, when asked about the issue, has stressed the precariousness of the youth and the need to “articulate policies that allow them to become emancipated.” We are convinced that direct aid will help emancipation and we make no distinction, young people from all territories, regardless of what their governments do, will be able to have access to this aid.
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