Pedro Sánchez's royal decree on electricity and gas cuts has exaggerated the restrictions imposed on private establishments and businesses and has omitted any significant measure on the part of his own government, such as, for example, having cancelled the closure of nuclear plants -which generate 25% of Spain's energy-, or having launched a tax cut so that families and companies could have been able to face the escalating prices of electricity, gas or fuel for vehicles. But a particularly striking fact maintains a serious discrepancy between the Brussels plan and Sánchez's decree. The European Commission does not speak of one year, but of two years -with their respective winters- of energy restrictions, and Sánchez only announces supposed preparations and precautions for one year. The second of the years is, in fact, the one in which Pedro Sánchez intends to hold his general elections, which could be held with limitations on voters' heating.
The European text from which the national energy saving rules were to emanate is very clear in this regard. And quite distant with respect to the Government's royal decree: "Member States should be free to choose the appropriate measures to achieve the mandatory demand reduction" and, when "determining which measures are appropriate for demand reduction and setting priorities between groups of customers, Member States should use the measures contained in the Communication entitled "Saving gas for a safe winter" of 20 July 2022". This second document states that "Member States should consider economically efficient measures, such as auctions or tenders, which allow them to incentivize consumption reduction in an economically efficient manner. Measures taken at national level may also include financial incentives or compensation for the market participants concerned". This second part, that of incentives, has been directly bypassed by Sanchez. And, to make matters worse, the first part of this point has been punctuated by socialists and communists with the confirmation of the closure of nuclear energy, which generates 25% of all the electricity consumed in Spain. Because, apparently, in the face of a strong energy crisis, the best measure the Government has come up with is to reduce energy generation. And to raise taxes and contributions, of course.
Brussels gives more details of what families and companies should expect from their respective Executives. "Any measures taken by Member States to achieve mandatory demand reduction must be clearly defined, necessary, transparent, proportionate, non-discriminatory and verifiable, and must not unduly alter competition or the proper functioning of the internal gas market or jeopardize the security of gas supply of other Member States or the Union," the European Commission document clarifies. And, "on the basis of the available information, it is likely that for at least the next two winters the risk of serious disruption of gas supply to the Union is likely to be present," the EU sentences.
Sanchez, on the contrary, speaks in public of a single year of belt-tightening in energy matters. This means that, regardless of the ineffectiveness of the measures included in the current royal decree of the Government, what is clear is that, in view of that second year -or, better said, second winter-, there are no measures. Because, in fact, Sanchez wants to lift the restrictions just before the general elections that he may hold in December next year or in January 2024.
"This Regulation should therefore be valid for two years from its entry into force. At the end of the first year of application of this Regulation, the Commission should report to the Council on its operation and, if appropriate, propose to extend its validity," Brussels confirms.