The Midcat passes through Berlin

The sabotage of the two Nord Stream gas pipelines, whose authorship we will one day learn, seems to have injected pressure into the pipelines that transport complicity between Germany and Spain.

06 October 2022 Thursday 00:32
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The Midcat passes through Berlin

The sabotage of the two Nord Stream gas pipelines, whose authorship we will one day learn, seems to have injected pressure into the pipelines that transport complicity between Germany and Spain. Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Pedro Sánchez. President of the Government of Spain, jumped yesterday like goats from the Pyrenees on the tubes of the Midcat, a gas pipeline that could connect the notable gas infrastructures of the Iberian Peninsula with central Europe in 2025. Both jumped as one man in the Atlantic city of A Coruña, where the 25th Spanish-German summit took place, the first high-level bilateral meeting between the two countries since 2013.

"I don't know why we have to jump like goats from the Pyrenees on that gas pipeline to say that we are going to fix the gas problem", exclaimed the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, on September 4 in Paris, after having maintained a telematic meeting with Chancellor Scholz. There was not much kindness in those words.

Macron borrowed an expression used in 1964 by Charles de Gaulle. “I don't know why we have to jump like goats on a chair, shouting: Europe, Europe, Europe!” said the general in the course of a debate with François Mitterrand. Jump like a goat: useless gesture. Jump like a goat from the Pyrenees: a useless gesture and also rustic, something typical of Iberian pigs.

At the beginning of September there was still no sparkling water in the Baltic Sea. Germany could still entertain the idea that one day the two Nord Stream gas pipelines could work, without a war to close their valves. There are currently four gaps at a depth of one hundred meters, between the coasts of Sweden and Poland, and sea water is penetrating both pipelines. The exact extent of the damage is not yet known, but German sources have warned that both gas pipelines may have been rendered unusable.

Germany, therefore, must thoroughly review all its energy mapping. And this was reflected yesterday in A Coruña. The reactivation of Midcat is one of the points of the action plan signed at the Spanish-German summit. And a date appears on the document: 2025.

Sánchez and Scholz explicitly referred to the issue, being the central theme of their appearance before the media. The most significant words of the German Chancellor: "We do not have to say that this project is excluded." "This is not a bilateral issue with France, this is a European project and as such it must be addressed," Sánchez stressed.

In the morning, activists from the environmental organization Greenpeace displayed banners in A Coruña against Midcat. In the afternoon, the plenary session of the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution on high energy prices that includes a favorable mention of the continuation of Midcat, a pipeline that is now dying in the towns of Hostalric (Catalunya) and Barbarian (Occitania, very close to of Carcassonne). Almost all French MEPs voted against.

Spain and Germany are not going to give up their pressure, which France has tried to neutralize in recent days, with more kind words: "You can talk about this project, but later." Scholz and Sánchez set a date yesterday: in 2025 it should be completed.

Why is France opposed? His main argument is that it is not a solution for tomorrow, when everything is urgent. Paris questions its future profitability and adds that the only two pipelines between Spain and France, two modest gas pipelines that connect both countries through the Basque Country and Navarra, are not even fully operational. Macron added at the beginning of September that, at that time, France was sending gas to Spain and not the other way around. It was a data extracted in a somewhat opportunistic way. During the first six months of 2022, Spain sold more gas to France than the previous two years combined.

Why this opposition? France does not like too much the current consolidation of an Iberian-German axis (Portugal must always be included in this story), to the extent that it could alter its complex relationship of collaboration and competition with Germany. French reasoning: if Germany needs new maps and new energy providers, France can also be one of them. A floating regasification plant in the port of Le Havre can send gas to Germany via the northern network.

The Midcat would also serve within a few years to send green hydrogen to the center of Europe, it is refuted from Spain, with the assent of Germany. Paris thinks: with the electricity generated by French nuclear power plants, hydrogen can also be made, pink hydrogen, in energy jargon. Green hydrogen is generated with an electrolysis process powered by wind and solar energy. In the pink hydrogen, also without a carbon footprint, the atom intervenes. We have run into the French nuclear power plants, friend Sánchez, Scholz could have exclaimed yesterday.

But there is something else. With a gas pipeline between the Iberian Peninsula and central Europe, Germany is also approaching North Africa. And that is also worrying in Paris, which considers the Maghreb dossier their own.



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