France is desperately trying to convince Germany

Baptist Morin

The 27 Member States of the Union have an appointment this Thursday and Friday in Brussels for a European summit at the heart of which there will be the question of the price of gas. The European Commission has proposed several measures to try to bring it down. But it did not retain the Iberian mechanism that France wants to generalize in Europe.

For four months now, Spain and Portugal have benefited from a derogation on the European energy market. The two countries obtained it because their situation is particular and physically limits electricity exchanges with the rest of the continent. Spain and Portugal were therefore able to cap the price of gas used to produce electricity.

The megawatt hour cannot exceed 40 euros in these two countries. And, as the price of electricity takes into account the cost of the last production unit started up, very often a gas-fired power station, the megawatt-hour in Spain and Portugal is sold two to three times cheaper than in France. and in Germany.

Germany is wary of perverse effects

It is this mechanism that France wants to generalize in Europe, but it cannot convince Germany. Berlin is primarily concerned about the financing of such a mechanism. In Spain, consumers pay a surcharge. According to some, this is the limit of the mechanism: it makes it possible to limit the price of gas, but it is up to Spanish households to pay it.

But Germany warns above all about the perverse effects of the Iberian mechanism. The system suffers from leaks, even if these are marginal. France, among other countries, buys low-cost electricity from Spain. If the mechanism were generalized to the whole Union, a non-member country could therefore also benefit from it. Finally, the last grievance, such a mechanism could encourage the consumption of more electricity because it is cheaper, at the very time when Europe wants to encourage sobriety.