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ENVIRONMENT

Spain opposes EU green label for gas and nuclear energy

Spain and Denmark reiterated Monday their opposition to plans by the European Union to label gas and nuclear energy projects as green investments, an issue that has divided the bloc.

gas energy, Spain
How could a possible embargo on Russian energy impact Austria? Photo: Magnascan / Pixabay

The two nations believe such a move would send “the wrong message to
investors and society as a whole”, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told a joint news conference in Madrid with his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen.

The European Commission drafted plans late last year to label gas and
nuclear energy as green investments, a move it hopes will steer huge sums of private capital into activities that support EU climate goals.

READ ALSO: ‘Spain needs to change its ways’: Scientists warn over worsening drought

But Austria and Luxembourg have along with Spain and Denmark opposed the EU’s draft plans for a so-called “sustainable finance taxonomy”.

Heavyweight Germany opposes labelling nuclear power as sustainable, but not gas.

Sánchez and Frederiksen believe decisions about the new rulebook should
have a “strictly scientific basis”, a “position shared by Austria and Luxembourg”, the Spanish government said in a statement after the two leaders met.

EU member states are awaiting the commission’s final proposal, which it has
said it will publish soon, without giving a date.

Once published, a majority of the European Parliament or a super-majority
of EU member states – 20 of the 27 countries – could block the rules.

It is unlikely that such a majority will be reached since a dozen nations
including nuclear-reliant France back the new rulebook.

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POLITICS

Qatar emir visits Spain as EU eyes gas alternatives

Qatar's emir began a state visit to Spain on Tuesday as Europe seeks to diversify its natural gas supply sources to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.

Qatar emir visits Spain as EU eyes gas alternatives

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was welcomed by King Felipe VI at Madrid’s royal palace at the start of his two-day visit, his first to Spain since he ascended the throne in 2013.

The emir, who is accompanied by Qatar’s foreign and energy ministers, is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Wednesday.

Spain and Qatar are expected to sign a dozen economic and commercial contracts during his visit, mainly regarding energy, according to a Spanish government source.

The visit comes as the European Union is aiming to cut its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds this year due to Russia’s invasion of  Ukraine.

Russia currently supplies around 40 percent of Europe’s gas needs.

Qatar, which has the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, is currently Spain’s fifth-biggest supplier of natural gas after the United States, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt.

The country accounted for 4.4 percent of Spain’s total gas imports in April and the Spanish government hopes this share could increase.

“We are working closely with out European counterparts” on the long-term supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Qatar’s ambassador to Spain, Abdullah Al-Hamar, told Spanish daily 20 Minutos.

The emir of Qatar’s trip to Europe will also include visits to Germany, Britain, Slovenia and Switzerland, where he will attend the World Economic Forum which will run in the mountain resort of Davos from May 22nd-26th.

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