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Amid supermarket food rationing, a truckers’ strike over petrol prices and rising inflation in Spain, the country’s economy minister told FRANCE 24 he was ” essential” that Madrid be allowed to take action to bring down electricity prices. “We are working with the Commission to obtain authorization to decouple our energy market and thus stop this price increase. […] It does not make sense that Spanish and Portuguese citizens do not benefit from the fact that we have, for example, at least 50% of our production from renewable energies. It is a very cheap and clean energy and our citizens should benefit from these low prices”, explains Nadia Calviño.

Meanwhile, the week the European Commission said there were too many Ukrainian refugees in Poland, and some should apply for temporary residency in other EU states, the minister said Spain was “willing and able to support the countries closest to the Ukrainian border”. and that having already welcomed around 30,000 refugees, “we expect to reach 70,000 soon”.

And while Germany’s economy minister says the latest sanctions package against Vladimir Putin’s regime shouldn’t be the last, Calviño says it’s also important to make sure existing sanctions are effective. “We reinforced them week after week, filling in the gaps, making sure they had the desired impact in the direction of stopping his attacks by Putin as soon as possible.”

Finally, following a pivot in Madrid’s foreign policy on the status of the disputed territory of Western Sahara – which prompted Algeria to recall its ambassador – the minister asserts that “our relations with Algeria are also good as they can be” and that “we are entering a new phase of relations with Morocco, marked by increased dialogue and close cooperation”.

Produced by Isabelle Romero, Georgina Robertson, Sophie Samaille and Perrine Desplats

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