By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - The German chancellor said on Wednesday that he “explicitly supports” the MidCat pipeline, which would transport natural gas, and later hydrogen, from Spain to France and the rest of Europe.
“Only close collaboration within the EU can secure the gas that our economies need,” Olaf Scholz told a joint news conference alongside Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in the city of La Coruna in Galicia.
“We need more connections in Europe. Even if they aren’t profitable now, they could be in the future. And we need them to help each other mutually.”
Spain continues pushing the need for the pipeline and further connecting the Iberian peninsula’s energy infrastructure with the rest of Europe. However, French President Emmanuel Macron, a key decision maker in the project, has spoken out against building the pipeline.
The news conference comes amid the first Spain-Germany bilateral summit since 2013.
Both governments signed an agreement stating their commitment to strengthening the EU and NATO.
The leaders also agreed on the urgent need to find a way to decrease energy prices in Europe.
Germany recently announced a €200 billion ($198 billion) gas price relief scheme to keep prices affordable for industry and consumers.
While EU politicians from France and Italy have criticized the plan as having the potential to create an unfair advantage for German industry, the Spanish leader supported Scholz.
“Germany is Europe’s number one economy, so it’s in all of our interests for its industry to continue performing well,” said Sanchez.
While the leaders also discussed Ukraine, financial transparency and the electricity market, they left a few key items off the agenda.
First, both leaders admitted they did not discuss Spain participating in Germany’s anti-missile defense shield, as was widely reported in the media.
Second, there was no mention of a German apology for the role of Nazis in the Spanish Civil War and subsequent fascist dictatorship, as a historical group formally asked Sanchez to negotiate at the meeting.
On Wednesday, Spain’s Senate passed a law on democratic memory declaring the Franco regime illegal. The new bill will take effect in the coming days.