Von der Leyen sees an important role for Spain in the energy supply in Europe

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – During her visit to Spain last Saturday, EU President Ursula Von der Leyen emphasised the importance of an independent energy supply. As a result, Europe would no longer be dependent on energy imports from Russia, which would be impossible without Spain. 

Von der Leyen attributes an important role to Spain in the transition to energy independence. Furthermore, she says the country has “a lot of experience” in generating sustainable energy. After Russia invaded Ukraine, this independence is more relevant than ever. In her speech at Moncloa government palace, von der Leyen said: “Spain has an impressive percentage of renewable energy sources. We must therefore establish a link between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the EU.” 

Von der Leyen calls Spain an important partner 

The EU president said she would support the Spanish government with financial compensation. This would be intended for consumers and businesses that cannot afford their extremely high energy bills. Von der Leyen also took the opportunity to thank the Sánchez government for supporting the European Commission’s decisions to stem Russia’s war offensive in Ukraine. She called Spain an “important partner” at “critical moments”. The EU is currently supporting the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky with €500 million. 

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Prime Minister Sanchez has spoken publicly about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during von der Leyen’s visit. According to him, President Putin is making two strategic mistakes. First, by thinking that Ukraine would easily surrender, which is not the case. According to the prime minister, Ukrainians have shown determination to fight for their freedom. Consequently, for this, he shows his admiration and solidarity. The second strategic mistake, according to Sánchez, is that Putin had counted on divisions within Europe, which turns out not to be the case either. The prime minister currently called Europe more united than ever in finding a solution to the economic consequences of the war. 

Spain shows solidarity 

Prime Minister Sánchez said he would send more humanitarian aid to Kyiv and expressed his willingness to accept Ukrainian refugees in Spain. The possibility of a common European defense policy was also discussed during the visit of the EU President. About this, the prime minister said: “That would be a perfect complement to the increasingly relevant NATO”. 

Von der Leyen concluded her visit to Spain with the words: “More than 1.2 million people have already fled Ukraine, innocent women, and children who need our immediate help. The EU Member States have shown great solidarity by helping as much as possible.” 

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