Spain, Portugal Reject EU Plan To Limit Natural Gas Use

The European Union’s plan to reduce the bloc’s natural gas use by 15% to prepare for a potential cutoff by Russia this winter received sharp skepticism on Thursday from the governments of Spain and Portugal, which are usually big supporters of the bloc.

The governments in Madrid and Lisbon said they would not support the initiative announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday. The proposal would start with voluntary reductions, but the EU’s head office also wants the power to make 15% savings mandatory in the event of an EU-wide energy emergency.

Spain and Portugal said making reductions obligatory was a non-starter. They noted that there are scant energy connections linking them to the rest of Europe and that they use very little Russian gas compared to fellow EU members such as Germany and Italy.

Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera said, “We will defend European values, but we won’t accept a sacrifice regarding an issue that we have not even been allowed to give our opinion on,”

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