It was a mischief of the Prime Minister. Pedro Sánchez felt comfortable in a debate in Davos on energy, because the vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, was speaking against the electricity companies along the same lines, so he decided to break the protocol and force him to go further. He decided to ask Timmermans a question to the stupor of moderator Francine Lacqua. “I have a question for my dear friend Frans. Don’t you think it’s time to change the regulation of the electricity market?

Timmermans initially gave away Sánchez’s ears. “Yes, we have to look at the design of the electricity market due to the introduction of more and more renewable energies.” But he immediately stopped him. “It is not something that can be done overnight. You have to act carefully. It took 30 years to design this market and you have to be careful not to damage it. It is very complex. You have to do it step by step.” He thus cooled, once again, the traditional request of the President of the Government to the EU to reform the market without restricting intervention in the price of gas to only Spain and Portugal.

Despite this disagreement, the debate did not go badly for Sánchez. Timmermans congratulated him on his housing rehabilitation plan and the Lithuanian president, Gitanas Nauseda, also praised his commitment to renewable energies. The vice president of the European Commission also recognized that Sánchez had been a pioneer in trying to curb the so-called “profits from heaven” of energy companies. The Spaniard stressed that he had already taken the step in September 2021, although he omitted that he had to lower it to the extreme a month later due to the fright of investors.

The president came to repeat twice that the energy sector must get used to more control. “I don’t know why the financial sector can be intervened and not the energy sector,” he said, referring, according to government sources, to the fact that capital can be required from banks or cut speculation on the stock market, but not easily put a cap on the prices of the gas.

In the auditorium were, among others, the president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, who greeted Sánchez correctly, despite the clash of recent weeks. Galán, for his part, intervened in another panel and called for “accelerating renewable energies” and for this, he called for “a stable framework.”

On a different line, the CEO of Repsol, Josu Jon Imaz, spoke at Davos, agreeing that “maximum ambition in the energy transition is necessary, but without being naive and falling into magical thoughts.” “The energy transition must be rethought to balance security of supply and reduction of emissions.”

Sánchez warned the audience about “leaders who use the excuse” of the energy crisis to stop the energy transition. And he called for “confidence” in the Spanish economy both at the Forum and in successive interviews on Bloomberg and CNBC while eluding the Spanish press with a clear desire not to have to comment on matters of national politics or on Juan Carlos I.

Sánchez launched his usual messages in Davos of “commitment” to the consolidation of public accounts, “structural reform agenda” and “increased productivity and competitiveness” of the country. The president of the Forum, Borge Brende, gave him credibility and even asked him for “the recipe for Spanish economic success” in case it could serve other countries. It was an unforgettable moment for Sánchez in Davos, but Spain is still in the tail end of the Eurozone in recovering from pre-pandemic levels and an unemployment rate that, despite having exceeded 20 million affiliates, continues to double the European average.

The president, who manages without difficulty in the Davos Forum, focused his bilateral meetings on the giants of semiconductor production with the carrot of the rain of millions of European funds that he has approved to dedicate to this sector in the so-called Perte Chip. This was announced by the first vice president, Nadia Calviño, in Madrid, while Sánchez sold it in Davos to the presidents of Intel, Micron or Qualcomm. Government sources assure that there are medium-term possibilities with these companies after the explanations of the Prime Minister. Sánchez asked the president of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, Dilham Pillay to invest again in Spain.

Conforms to The Trust Project criteria