EU must break its dependence on Russian energy: Von der Leyen

Spain ‘can and will play an important role in supplying Europe’s energy,’ says European Council president.

EU must break its dependence on Russian energy: Von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday that the EU must rid itself of its dependence on Russian oil, gas, and coal.

“We have to diversify the supply, we have to get better at energy efficiency and massively invest in renewables,” she said at a news conference in Madrid alongside Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, where they discussed the energy issue before next week’s EU summit in Versailles.

Compared to other European countries, Spain has a low reliance on Russian energy. Just under 9% of Spain’s total gas imports are from Russia, according to CORES. In Germany, Russian gas accounts for around 65% of the county’s supply.

However, Spain’s gas supply was also recently disrupted. In October, Algeria, which supplies around 42% of Spain’s gas, closed a key pipeline that passed through Morocco to Spain as part of a diplomatic dispute with Morocco.

Von der Leyen also praised Spain's use of renewables, which covered 21% of the country's energy demand in 2021.

“Spain is a real frontrunner … It can and will play an important role in supplying Europe’s energy,” she said.

The EU president said the first priority is to interconnect the Iberian peninsula’s energy infrastructure with the rest of the EU, with a possible reference to the half-built MidCat pipeline, which would allow Spain to supply France and other EU nations with Algerian gas.

The EU’s second priority is to help consumers and businesses deal with high energy bills.

For months, Spain has been advocating for a new way to set electricity prices in the EU.

The leaders said that the topics of a common EU defense policy will also be at the table in the Versaille summit.

“A strong European defense will be a perfect complement to an increasingly relevant NATO,” said Sanchez.

Hüseyin Demir

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