There are few markers as strong in Macronism as the attachment to the European project. However, five years after the Sorbonne speech, the head of state’s European star has faded. The resignation of British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Thursday 20 October overshadowed an equally worrying, if less visible reality: the failure of European energy negotiations, and the inability of the Old Continent to contain prices which defy all economic logic. Not only bringing some of the Member States to their knees, but also threatening European cohesion.
The conclusions of the summit, at the end of last week, are perhaps not reassuring: the Twenty-Seven concluded that it was necessary “urgently” to find “concrete solutions” on the question of gas prices, the explosion of which has since inflamed electricity prices. Including in France, while France’s energy “mix”, almost 70% of which comes from cheap nuclear electricity, should protect it.
For nearly a year, Paris has been campaigning for an overhaul of the rules of the European electricity market, in order to lower prices. With, at this stage, few results. However, the subject is crucial: our ultra-energy-dependent economies have forced all European states to bear these price differences, in a new “whatever the cost” which is not assumed as such, but already exceeds 500 billion euros according to the Brussels think tank Bruegel. France has spent 50 billion euros in 2021 to protect households, and plans to disburse another 50 billion in 2023. What will it do if energy prices do not fall?
Risk of relocations
On Friday, Emmanuel Macron said to himself “very confident” on the chances of reaching an agreement. The Elysée argued that it was first necessary to manage the supply problems to get through the winter, by finding other suppliers than Russia. “It’s actually only since the end of the summer that the subject of prices has imposed itself”, confirm a close to the negotiations. However, other countries, starting with Spain and Portugal, obtained protection mechanisms in March, making the bill for their manufacturers. The mechanism may not be replicable, but it questions. “Lost six months, annoys Ludovic Subran, chief economist for the German insurer Allianz. Emmanuel Macron was monopolized by the campaign and let his guard down on European issues. And we can clearly see that between Macron and Scholz [le chancelier allemand], the current does not flow. »
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