Spain, Germany discuss energy crisis before EU summit

MADRID (AP) — The leaders of Spain and Germany held talks in Spain Wednesday, two days before both participate in an European Union summit to discuss Europe’s energy crisis derived from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the northwestern city of A Coruña. The two center-left leaders were accompanied by 15 ministers from their governments.

The EU summit in Prague on Friday will likely include discussions on Germany’s plan to subsidize gas prices for its consumers and businesses, a move that has raised questions from France and Italy.

Sánchez said that he “empathizes” with Germany due to its pressing need to find alternatives to Russian gas and oil, while adding that the EU should find common solutions. Both Sánchez and Scholz support reforming the EU’s energy market.

“The consequences of the war in Ukraine impact us all, but clearly it has a greater impact on the countries with a higher dependency on Russian carbon-based fuels … so we empathize with the situation that Germany is in,” Sánchez said. “(And) Germany is Europe’s leading economy, so it is in all our interests that Germany does well.”

Scholz, meanwhile, reiterated his support for Spain’s push to build another, larger pipeline with France that could pump natural gas, and potentially green hydrogen, northwards to the rest of Europe. That plan, however, has received zero support from French president Emmanuel Macron.

Scholz said that they did not discuss Germany’s suggested European anti-missile defense shield as some local media had anticipated.

On Thursday, leaders of over 40 EU and non-EU countries will meet in Prague to launch a “European Political Community” championed by Macron and aimed at boosting security and prosperity across the continent. The next day the leaders of the 27 EU members will gather to talk about energy and the war in Ukraine.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.