The gas pipeline, closed border, LGV … France-Spain relations are collapsing

The recent victory of Spain against the Blues in the final of the Euro basketball did not change much: south of the Pyrenees, the impressive French neighbor was even more upset. Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to relaunch MidCat ignited the powder and since then, articles and harsh statements against France have multiplied. They are more than just the subject of the gas pipeline.

In a scathing column entitled “the unsympathetic neighbor” in which he evokes an arrogant and overconfident France, Jordi Juan, the director of the newspaper La Vanguardia, mocks Paris for refusing to all projects that will allow Spain, (and especially Catalonia), to be better connected to France and the rest of Europe. In his viewfinder, the MidCat disclaimer: “Macron probably did not appreciate the good understanding shown by Pedro Sanchez and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who both agreed to support MidCat.” Another topic of anger concerns the rail links and the loss of a high-speed line between Montpellier and Perpignan which punishes the entire network in Spain while the Mediterranean rail corridor between Algeciras and France develops a good speed. “When the works are completed, it will be disappointing if a bottleneck is created in the French territory” reporter’s regret. On the Atlantic side, without the concrete LGV project between Bordeaux and Hendaye, there will be no second connection between the French and Spanish networks. “France makes decisions that think more about its particular interests than the European collective” sums up, bitterly, La Vanguardia, a generally moderate and Francophile newspaper.

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“We are not launching a campaign against France. We want to open a debate”defended Enric Juliana, deputy director of the newspaper. “The energy crisis has put the subject of interconnections back in the spotlight. We realize that they are very weak. Paris favors the high-speed line between Toulouse and Bordeaux at the expense of the one between Montpellier and Perpignan. national, but it has been at the expense of European interests, it is a shame.”

Although there are valid reasons for rejecting it, this MidCat activity is troubling

Behind these points of contention hides a disappointment, widely shared in Spain: that of noting that France continues to ignore, perhaps unconsciously, its neighbor to the south. “Apparently, there is a shame in Spain”, observed Stéphane Vojetta, MP for the French in Spain (presidential majority). “Emmanuel Macron’s comments on MidCat are not well felt and that is a shame.” Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Spain has campaigned for the acquisition of MidCat, a gas pipeline that will allow it to exploit six gas terminals, including the largest in Barcelona, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ in the lack of outlets in others. on the continent. “5 years ago, the project was rejected by both countries. Now, the situation has changed and this gas pipeline must be studied again”continued the deputy cautiously.

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“Although there are valid reasons to reject it, this MidCat activity is outrageous” confirms Antonio Delgado, Paris correspondent for Spanish public radio. Behind this movement, we see a new form of historical resentment emerging. “Spain has always suffered from an inferiority complex. France does not despise us but it is clear that it does not care about us a bit. And it is with Italy that it has signed a reinforced partnership. Spain wants to be considered as a big country but it feels like we can still see it as a team of 2e division.”

If the state of relations between the two neighboring countries is not alarming, the deputy wants to be attentive. “There is a bit of French bashing in Spain going on and we have to watch out.”

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