Teresa Ribera: Leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipeline are a provocation by Russia

Teresa Ribera: Leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipeline are a provocation by Russia

Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge Teresa Ribera believes that gas leaks from Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines discovered in the waters of the Baltic Sea are a “clear sign of how (Vladimir) Putin is constantly provoking “. An exclusive interview of the Minister with EFE and EURACTIV.com.

Ms Ribera Efe gave an interview just before leaving for Brussels, where the EU’s 27 energy ministers will meet on Friday (30 September) to agree on the first package of measures to respond to the energy crisis. She mentioned, among other things, the recent electoral victory of far-right Italian candidate Giorgia Meloni, a result Ms Ribera welcomed.with caution, not with pleasure ».

Vladimir Putin and the “permanent provocation”

With her thoughts on the extraordinary meeting with her European counterparts, the third vice-president of the Spanish government adopts a serious tone when asked about the three leaks in the Nord Stream, an incident that the European Union itself and NATO are already aware of have hastened to describe as “intentional act».

«At this point, it seems obvious to me that it is impossible that three ruptures of this nature could have occurred in two subsea gas pipelines without being the result of an act of sabotagesays Ms. Ribera, who insists it is a “clear sign of how Mr. Putin plays the permanent provocation».

In this sense, it commemorates certain decisions “allegedly provocativeof the Kremlin, like those ofplay with the threat of the Zaporiya nuclear power plant or burn the gas at the entry point of the gas pipelines from Russia».

«The message he sends is always the same:“I know how to make it big in terms of energy supply,” affirms the minister, recommending that Europe do it “as a real threat“Face to which it is necessary”continue to respond intelligently, with a vocation to respond in a united, supportive and effective mannerSuccessfully isolating Mr. Putin.

Hungary’s counterproductive flirts

During the discussion, Ms Ribera reiterated that Europe “must be inflexible».

However, she admits that in recent months, marked by the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, “Least positive was the Hungarian government’s very counterproductive flirtation with Moscow».

She refers to the position of Hungarian Prime Minister, ultra-nationalist Viktor Orban, Mr Putin’s only ally within the European Union, and the fact that although the country has complied with sanctions imposed by the bloc, Mr Orban has repeatedly felt their effects on the economy and refused to provide military support to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Mr Orban publicly announced that sanctions on Russia had failed and Europe could be starving of energy.

In view of this vision, Ms. Ribera does not mince her words: “The best answer remains support for Ukraine and economic sanctions (against Russia)».

Diplomatic negotiations for a tank cap

Shortly before the talks, the European Commission proposed a new package of sanctions against Russia, including a price cap on imported Russian oil, in line with the agreement reached by the G7.

However, Spain continues to argue that this limit “must be extended to all exchanges” and “therefore requires reflections on the potential implementation of different price thresholds, as well as of course an underlying strategy, prior actions to listen and identify agreements».

All this with the goalto avoid a rejection reaction“says Teresa Ribera, who believes that”the conversation is serious and important enough that it should have happened a long time ago, and if so, as soon as possible».

The third vice president understands that the gas cap “is a matter that requires prior diplomatic discussionexplain why they are consideringthat it is important to show price stability».

«The message is clear: Bringing the gas price back to the long-standing level of 20 to 30 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) will not be possible, but we must make it clear that the scope to lower prices is considerable and we are not will pay €200 or €300 as before“, she adds.

Spain is one of 15 countries – representing more than 64% of the European Union’s population – to have sent a letter to the European Commission this week that has been tabledas soon as possible» a proposal to cap the price of all natural gas imports.

An energy infrastructure «to water l’Come» with France

France, which has softened its starting position, is among the letter’s signatories. But will it end up reversing its decision on a new interconnector with Spain?

“They say they don’t see what can be done, that there could be technical, timing and economic difficulties. We have proposed that in the high-level group analyzing interconnections, where regulators, governments and system providers sit, we analyze what can be done looking towards autumn/winter 2023/2024.”said Mrs. Ribera.

The minister emphasizes that the idea isn’t “to build an ephemeral gas pipeline, but something designed for the future. »

“If we were to build infrastructure to transport hydrogen, we would have to ask ourselves whether we can count on its capacity to transport natural gas temporarily over the next few winters, not this one.”She added.

About Giorgia Meloni: “cautious but not satisfied»

Another partner through which the future of ties with Europe lies: Italy, which has a bitter taste of victory for the far-right Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party, led by Giorgia Meloni.

“The results of the polls are respected, but we still prefer that they opt for European-oriented, united options that understand the world and economic and social reality from a broader and more inclusive perspective.”says Ms. Ribera.

She presses that Giorgia Meloni “is not a woman with whom we have much experience, apart from the anecdotes and messages that were not particularly enjoyable”.

The minister therefore contemplates her victory “with caution, but not willingly”.

Nevertheless, “there is no doubt that the responsible person for government and ministriesare considering working with Italy, Ms Ribera said, echoing comments from other EU countries who said there was no real alternative to working with Italy.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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