The prime minister of Portugal, the socialist António Costa, wants to extend the Iberian cooperation, which has made it possible to carry out an exceptional mechanism to limit the price of gas and reduce its impact on the electricity bill, to other areas. The most urgent has to do with the role that the Peninsula can play as a territory for the entry of energy to the rest of Europe, now that the war in Ukraine makes it necessary to find alternative routes and supplies to Russia. “With what is already installed in the Iberian Peninsula and with small investments, we have the capacity to meet almost 30% of Europe’s energy needs,” he assured this Friday during a lunch with 200 Portuguese and Spanish businessmen held in Lisbon. “All the countries of central Europe have an urgency to solve this matter. In the last European Council, the importance of the Iberian Peninsula was discussed in order to reinforce energy security. Spain and Portugal have to take advantage of this unique opportunity”, stressed Costa.
For this, it is necessary to improve the connections of the Iberian energy infrastructures to France, although the Prime Minister has warned that if the Pyrenees route proves unfeasible, the sea route could be used. The Portuguese Government is committed to converting the port of Sines into a gas distribution platform to the rest of Europe, which includes both the increase in transport by ship and by gas pipeline to France. “It has taken a war to reach this new European consensus on the need to increase energy production capacity, distribution routes and production sources,” he noted.
In the act organized by the Luso-Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Costa has reviewed all the economic sectors in which both countries can go hand in hand to gain competitiveness. “We have the natural conditions to be suppliers of energy to Europe”, he stressed, referring to the development of existing renewable sources and others that are future bets such as green hydrogen. Portugal, in fact, aspires to produce 80% of its electrical energy in 2026 with renewable sources.
António Costa has stressed that Spain and Portugal must take advantage of their large lithium reserves to generate added value in the mineral treatment process and in the assembly of electric batteries. In addition, he has advocated turning the Peninsula into a hub for industrial and electronic production. “The EU’s commitment to the relocation of industries that had been relocated cannot remain in Eastern Europe,” he warned.
More ambiguous has been the prime minister regarding the high-speed connection between the two countries. Beyond the Atlantic corridor project, which will connect Vigo, Porto and Lisbon, Costa has not given details about the rest of the projects, especially the link between the two Iberian capitals. “The important thing is to know how Portugal adapts to the high-speed network, not so much if there is a line between Lisbon and Madrid. We have to decide if we want to be in or out of high speed”, he said. The prime minister has alluded to the next Spanish-Portuguese summit, to be held in the autumn in the Portuguese region of Minho, to address the issue with the Spanish government.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.