Macron, Sánchez and Costa agree to a meeting in Paris to advance on MidCat | International

One of the most tangible results of the informal summit that the EU has held this Friday in Prague, which by definition does not make decisions, is that Emmanuel Macron and Pedro Sánchez have brought their positions closer together on the MidCat gas pipeline, which until now France has categorically rejected . Macron entered the summit on Thursday with a new pitcher of cold water before journalists. But later, during the meeting, Sánchez brought up the matter and demanded that it be treated as a European issue, and not a bilateral one between France and Spain, and received the support of several leaders, especially the German, Olaf Scholz, one of the most interested because in this way his country could receive the gas that Spain sometimes has left over due to its great regasification capacity ―30% of the European total― and from the Portuguese, António Costa, who is also very interested in his geographical position.

When it seemed that Macron’s resistance was invincible, the Spanish and French presidents spoke personally during the summit and agreed to an extraordinary meeting in Paris on this matter, to which Costa will also attend. France’s resistance continues to be evident, and Macron did not hide it in his final press conference, but the fact that a specific summit has been agreed in Paris, which will take place in the coming days ―in any case, before the European Council of October 20 and 21―indicates, according to the Spanish delegation, that there is movement and that there may be progress in that meeting, because nobody calls an appointment of this type to collide head-on.

It was Macron who announced the appointment; Sánchez had reserved the news to agree on communication with the French. “In a few days I will see Prime Ministers Sánchez and Costa in Paris, and we are going to find very pragmatic agreements between the three of them. This is how we are going to do things, and we are going to do it well. To the European”, sentenced Macron, who offered his press conference in a room next to Sánchez’s.

When the press informed the Spanish president that the Frenchman had made the announcement, Sánchez laughed: “Ah, he already said it. He was waiting because we wanted to do a joint communication. But yes, there will be a meeting in Paris with President Macron, Costa and myself to talk about gas, hydrogen and electricity interconnections. If this meeting shows anything, it is the will of the French Government to find a solution that also responds to its domestic demands, which we all respect”, he affirmed.

Macron denies a disagreement with Spain

Macron denied that there is “disagreement” between France and Germany on Midcat – which the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has explicitly supported on several occasions, the last and vehemently in A Coruña on Wednesday, at the Spanish-German summit – and once again defended his approach to the need and convenience of this gas pipeline, in the face of doubts raised by the environmental impact of the project. Saying that gas must be diversified quickly “is true in fact, but you have to think about whether building a gas pipeline in the middle of the Pyrenees, in protected areas, is the best way to do it,” said Macron, who stressed that his objective is “to be consistent with the French climate agenda”.

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Meanwhile, Sánchez was convinced that “in one way or another, sooner rather than later” there will be an agreement on the construction of the Midcat gas pipeline “that manages to marry all the sensitivities and concerns that France has.” The Spanish Government is aware of the resistance in France, but hopes to be able to agree on a solution in Paris. “I am convinced that we are going to be able to achieve a good agreement with a good friend and ally, such as the French Government,” concluded Sánchez, who insisted that Europe “is late” in interconnections despite the fact that they were approved as a engagement years ago.

The truth is that Spain is still an energy island. And now that it has a lot of regasification capacity —and could help partners that ask for it, such as Germany— it is not able to do so because the infrastructures fail, which, moreover, the EU is willing to finance.

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