Spain may find itself in the driving seat with regards to the future of Europe. | FOCKE STRANGMANN

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Spain could find itself as one of the driving forces of the European bloc in the future as a result of the fuel crisis caused by the war in Ukraine which has highlighted how dependent so many European countries are on gas from Russia and other eastern European countries.

In 2021, Russian imports accounted for around 40 percent of the EU’s gas consumption. And Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calviño has urged the European Commission to “revise” its energy regulations to help Europe “decouple” from Russia.

And she stressed that Spain was one of the “least exposed” to these challenges as the country sources around half its energy from renewables and imports just 9 percent of its gas from Russia.

Calviño also said she would back a greater harmonisation of European countries’ energy policies through joint negotiations of gas contracts in the future. Responding to a question on whether Spain would support the creation of more joint debt between EU countries on defence and energy, she cautiously said these were “rumours,“ but also conceded there had been “discussions” on the topic.

In a watershed moment back in 2020, EU leaders agreed to create the bloc’s first-ever shared debt to help ease the financial devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic on some of its poorer member states. Could this be Spain’s moment?