Brussels Ends Iberian Exception For December

The European Commission has informed Spain and Portugal that a possible six-month extension of the well-known ‘Iberian exception’, which limits the price of gas used for electricity production, could not, for the moment, go beyond the month of December.
According to diplomatic sources, this message was transmitted by the Vice President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, to the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, and her Portuguese counterpart, Duarte Cordeiro, at the meeting they held last Wednesday. . However, the talks between the two parties continue at a “technical” level, although they recall that nothing has yet been decided on the possible extension of the Iberian mechanism beyond May 31.
In particular, Vestager informed the two countries that a possible extension cannot go beyond December of this year because it is the expected validity, for the moment, for the temporary framework of State aid that the European Union put in place. to respond to the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Ministry of Ecological Transition
As specified by sources from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, this scenario proposed by Brussels is “very reasonable” for the Spanish Government, despite the fact that Spain’s desire is to extend it until the end of 2024.
Faced with this situation, the department of Teresa Ribera proposes two possibilities so that the validity of the possible extension goes beyond December 2023: on the one hand, that the temporary framework of public aid from the EU be extended, and on the other, that the block agrees to a structural reform of the electricity market during the semester of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, an option that they see as “perfectly feasible”. In addition, Ribera’s team stresses that if this reform of the electricity market in Europe were to be achieved, “the Iberian solution would be unnecessary.”
The European Commission, for its part, preferred not to comment on “discussions at a technical level”, although the spokesperson for Competition of the Community Executive, Arianna Podesta, stated this Friday that the institution is in contact with Madrid and Lisbon regarding her request. .
The Iberian mechanism came into force in June of last year and from this month it rises five euros, reaching 70 euros in June.
It should be remembered that the Government, which promised to have the new PVPC calculation formula ready by January, continues without having sent the draft that Brussels demanded in exchange for authorizing the Iberian exception, a change whose timing and effects are questioned by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC). The regulatory body chaired by Cani Fernández believes that the new calculation system will make prices more expensive and has asked to wait to apply it.
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