LA CORUNA – Germany and Spain are sticking to their plan to build a new gas pipeline across the Pyrenees in defiance of French opposition, a joint action plan showed, as the leaders of the two European nations met in the northern Spanish city of La Coruna.
The meeting between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez came as their governments disagreed on other possible measures to tackle Europe’s energy crisis in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Spain has backed calls within the European Union for joint borrowing to help the 27-nation bloc navigate the energy crunch together and for a gas price cap. Germany has opposed both measures and come under criticism for going its own way with a vast 200 bln euro relief package its peers could not afford.
“We will both continue to lobby for a higher interconnection capacity of the Iberian Peninsula in order to enhance its contribution to the security of supply to the whole of EU,” the action plan said.
“The construction of a sufficiently big hydrogen-ready gas pipeline across the Pyrenees to be operative by 2025 is of paramount importance in order to achieve a truly robust internal energy market within the EU, accelerate the green transition and reinforce EU’s strategic autonomy.”
Spain and Germany also agreed to strengthen cooperation on defence, but the final version of the action plan excluded a mention in an earlier draft of common “air defence” amid controversy over whether Scholz and Sanchez would discuss plans for a German-led European missile defence shield.
The German ambassador to Spain Maria Margarete Gosse had said late on Tuesday there had already been “low-level” talks between the two NATO members about Spain joining the initiative.
But the Madrid government said on Wednesday the topic was not on the agenda and Berlin had not yet sent it any proposal.
Scholz and Sanchez are set to give a news conference at 1930 CET.