With a joint action plan, Germany and Spain want to put their relations on a new footing. In the draft of the document, which was to be decided on Wednesday at the German-Spanish government consultations in La Coruña, the two countries advocate, among other things, the construction of a gas pipeline between Spain and France via the Pyrenees by 2025.

Later, hydrogen produced with renewable energies will also be transported through the line. However, France has so far resisted the construction.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) traveled to the government consultations with half his cabinet. Eight of his 16 ministers, including Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), accompanied him in a new Bundeswehr troop transporter. At the start of the meeting, Scholz was received with military honors by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the port of La Coruña.

These are the first government consultations between the two countries in nine years. In addition to the heads of government, several ministers on both sides always take part in such meetings. The Federal Government regularly conducts such consultations with partner countries such as Israel, India and Italy. Previously – until the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 – there were also such consultations with the government in Moscow.

The action plan, which should be decided in the evening, covers almost all policy areas from education and research to economy, defense and security. The passage on energy cooperation is of particular current importance. The so-called midcat pipeline advocated by Scholz and Sanchez is to run from Barcelona via the Pyrenees to the connection to the French network in Barbaira in southern France. In Spain, the tube is complete as far as Hostalric, 106 kilometers south of the border; in France, around 120 kilometers are missing. The project was canceled in 2017 due to lack of profitability.

The natural gas that is to flow north through the pipe could be obtained from different sources in Spain and Portugal, as both countries together have a total of seven LNG terminals. There are also two pipelines to the gas supplier Algeria in North Africa. France rejects the construction of the Midcat pipeline.

Even before the consultations, Sanchez called on France to give up its opposition to the project. The pipeline affects the entire EU, he told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. In view of the war in Ukraine, the interests of Europe, not individuals, should take precedence.