The European Commission (EC) wants the energy interconnections between France and Spain to be strengthened, while developing the existing electricity projects and also creating new infrastructures to take advantage of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the Iberian peninsula, which in the future could also be used to transport hydrogen. "We will continue to support and encourage the Spanish and French authorities to accelerate the execution of the three existing projects of common interest (...) with the aim of increasing the interconnection capacity between the Iberian Peninsula and France," a European Commission spokesperson told the EFE agency. However, the Commission wanted to disassociate its position from the statements of the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, who spoke in favour of the missing section of the Midcat gas pipeline, between Catalonia and France, this Thursday, because the EU's opinion had already been reflected in the Repower EU plan presented last May to drastically reduce dependence on Russia.
Aragonés has already said yes
In response to the proposal of the Spanish government, which has said that the Midcat link could be ready in "eight or nine months", and the encouragement of the Junts members of the Catalan government, the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, has already shown himself in favour of the project. In a message published on Twitter this afternoon he has assured that "for months" the Catalan authorities have been demanding the resumption of work to complete the gas pipeline. After celebrating the interest shown by Scholz in the midst of Europe's energy crisis, and the fact that Catalonia is "strategic" in alleviating it, it seems that Aragonès has only put one condition on accepting the deal with the Germans: "It is essential that the EC supports and finances it". Aragonès's message, published on his social media accounts, has coincided with statements by the Catalan foreign minister, Victòria Alsina, who has stressed that "Catalonia has a strategic value" in the supply of energy and has celebrated that now Europe is "beginning to understand that it cannot look only to the north" because "it is important to diversify".
Fa mesos que ho reivindiquem, el projecte Midcat és estratègic per Europa i per Catalunya, més en el context actual, però també pel futur i la distribució d’hidrogen verd. Celebro el pas del canceller alemany Scholz. Ara, és imprescindible que la CE hi doni suport i finançament.— Pere Aragonès i Garcia 🎗 (@perearagones) August 12, 2022
"We have been urging this for months, the Midcat project is strategic for Europe and Catalonia, more so in the current context, but also for the future and the distribution of green hydrogen. I celebrate the step taken by German chancellor Scholz. Now, it is essential that the EC supports and finances it." - Pere Aragonès
The EC source consulted by Efe added that "additional investments to connect the LNG import terminals in the Iberian Peninsula with the EU network through a hydrogen-ready infrastructure can contribute still more to diversify gas supply in the domestic market and help harness the long-term potential of renewable hydrogen." In addition to speeding up the electrical connections between the peninsula and the rest of the EU, Brussels already indicated at the beginning of the crisis that it was "essential" to build new gas infrastructure between the Spanish state and France which in the future will serve to transport clean hydrogen out of the Iberian peninsula and from Africa to Europe, which together with renewable electricity is the Commission's major energy commitment.