Energy crisis reinvigorates Eurosceptics


Emmanuel Macron, during the joint press conference of the summit of the Euro-Mediterranean group EU-MED9, on December 9, 2022 in Alicante.

The subject was the subject of no less than ten questions to the government in the National Assembly this fall. And for good reason: it is one of the few that is unanimous both in the opposition and the majority, but also among business leaders and part of the unions. The reform of the European electricity market, which has preoccupied the executive for almost eighteen months, is, in fact, one of the factors of the explosion in energy prices in the summer of 2021. And France, which has been campaigning for almost two years for an overhaul of its operation, has so far not won its case in Brussels, seeking allies within the European Union – it was the one of the objects of Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Spain, Thursday January 19.

High electricity prices are partly linked to the functioning of the European market, in which the energy produced is indexed to the price of gas, which is soaring, while 70% of French production is cheap because it comes from nuclear. A system historically designed to support renewables and guarantee the supply of European consumers, but whose effects have been denounced for months without a consensus having, for the moment, emerged to remedy it.

“Bad” market

The executive, which hesitated to incriminate Europe a few months ago, now practices a “at the same time” combining sovereignty and attachment to the Union, in order to disqualify the Eurosceptics by repeating part of their arguments. In front of the bakers dissatisfied with the increase in their electricity bill, on January 5, Emmanuel Macron thus judged this market “badly done” and ” absurd “. One ” endless system that will impoverish us,” worthy of the Shadoks, he had dropped at the end of a G7 summit in Germany in June. The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, talks about“aberration” about this market, from which certain countries such as Spain and Portugal have succeeded in temporarily emancipating themselves, emphasizing their geographical location. Incomprehensible for the French, he judges.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “The interconnection of European electricity markets is an asset that it would be ill-advised to call into question”

This change in tone responds to an increasingly virulent criticism of the opposition on this central theme in the life of the French, in particular of the National Rally, which has made it the symbol of France’s inability to influence the European scene. “The explosion in bills is only due to Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to break with the absurd European rules of the European electricity market”repeated Marine Le Pen, in a video posted on January 4 on Twitter, addressed explicitly to craftsmen and the self-employed, recalling the “tens of billions of euros in taxes” who have been financing the various tariff shields for a year to contain the surge in electricity prices.

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