France will send gas to Germany if needed while Germany stands ready to provide it with electricity, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday, saying this showcased European solidarity in the face of the energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine.
European gas prices surged, share prices slid and the euro sank on Monday after Russia stopped pumping gas via a major supply route, in another warning to the 27-nation EU as it scrambled to respond to the crisis ahead of winter.
“Germany needs our gas and we need power from the rest of Europe, notably Germany,” France’s president told a news conference following a phone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The necessary connections for France to deliver gas to Germany when needed would be finalised in the coming weeks, he said, adding that France, which had long been a net exporter of electricity, will need help from its neighbours because of technical problems its nuclear plants face.
Macron, however, said that he did not understand demand for a third gas link between France and Spain, rejecting calls to increase capacity with a new pipeline. He added he was open to changing his mind on that point, should Scholz or Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez argue convincingly for it.
Ahead of a meeting on Friday of EU energy ministers, Macron said France was in favour of buying gas at a European rather than a national level and called for European Union measures to control energy prices.
He said it was necessary to act against speculation on energy prices at EU level and also said France was in favour of putting a cap on the price of pipeline Russian gas.
Macron also repeated calls for all to turn down air conditioners when it’s hot and to limit heating to 19 degrees Celsius this winter.
“Everyone has to do their bit,” he said.