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Sánchez proposes, together with Italy, Portugal and Greece, a response to the energy crisis

The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, the President of the Italian Government, Mario Draghi, and the President of the Portuguese Government, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. / AFP

The President of the Government condemns the “vandalism and violence” episodes of the transport strike, which he considers to be the result of “a minority”

The countries of the European Union cannot wait “not one more day” to respond jointly to the “unbearable” rise in energy prices caused by the invasion of Ukraine. After meeting in Rome with the heads of government of Italy, Portugal and Greece, the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, advocated an intervention “on a European scale” for a challenge that affects the entire continent. “It is not possible that there are 27 different answers to a problem that is common and that stems from a war that belongs to one person, Vladimir Putin,” he pointed out. “We are working together for the discussion of the next European Council in Brussels, next week, on concrete, feasible and executive proposals from the immediate point of view.”

Consequence of the skyrocketing price of fuels are the strike days of carriers who have already managed to block various sectors of the Spanish economy. When asked about these strikes, the socialist leader condemned the “vandalism and violence” episodes that have been experienced in some cases, although making it clear that they were only due to a “minority.” “I call for calm, to respectfully show the claims without falling into violence, which is not convenient for anyone at a time as difficult as this,” he said, also asking that the protests respect the guarantees of producers, distributors , carriers and consumers.

Without wanting to clarify whether the Government will approve a reduction in fuel prices, as other neighboring countries such as Italy, France or Germany have already done or plan to do, Sánchez insisted on the importance of offering a “European response” to the problem of increase in electricity and fuel prices. Once the “fundamental” European Council is held next week, it will be when the Executive presents its national initiative to face the high energy prices. This will be based on three strategies: cushioning the crisis, protecting the most vulnerable and sharing the burden of the consequences of the war in an “equable” way.

The President of the Government hopes that at the next summit in Brussels progress can be made on the proposal, launched by Spain and backed by Italy, Portugal and Greece, to decouple the price of gas from that of electricity, by establishing a ceiling of prices. It is also intended that the Twenty-seven go together to the international gas markets to try to obtain better prices and not compete with each other. “Now the Spanish proposal is making its way and the sense of urgency is increasingly shared by other EU member states,” Sánchez said.

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For these initiatives to go ahead, it will be necessary for them to overcome the reluctance of countries such as the Netherlands and Germany, which have so far shown their disagreement with them. The socialist leader also took advantage of his appearance in Rome to request that a common defense policy be established in Europe because, as he stressed, the invasion of Ukraine ordered by Putin “reminds us that peace is defended.”

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