Pedro Sanchez. Photograph: European Parliament Pedro Sanchez. Photograph: European Parliament

Spain’s green policies hang in balance following inconclusive election

The future of the energy and climate policies in Spain and at the EU level is shrouded in uncertainty, following an inconclusive election that saw the ruling socialist party fail to make gains

The future of the energy and climate policies in Spain and at the EU level is shrouded in uncertainty, following an inconclusive election that saw the ruling socialist party fail to make gains.

Following a second indecisive election result this year in which the socialist party again failed to secure a majority, prime minister Pedro Sánchez yesterday promised there will be no third election and that “a progressive government” will be formed. 

Parliamentary arithmetic means he has either to reach an informal deal with the conservative Popular Party (PP) or to resume negotiations aborted over the summer with Unidas Podemos and other left-wing parties to form a coalition government.

If Sánchez chooses the former, his socialist (PSOE) party’s environmental agenda, which includes a Green Deal, low emissions zones in all cities over 50,000 inhabitants and the phased closure of all coal and nuclear power plants, may face headwinds.

The PP’s electoral programme, which refuses to rule out any generation technology and  promises to end taxation on electricity production while “rejecting prohibitions on combustion  vehicles”, is apparently at odds with many aspects of the PSOE’s programme.

A coalition with Podemos, which wants to shut all coal and nuclear plants by 2025 and a 100% renewable primary energy target by 2040, would open the possibility of the new government setting even more ambitious climate and energy goals.

“We don’t have any preferences in this regard; the only thing we ask is for is a new government as quickly as possible,” a spokeswoman for AEE, the Spanish wind power industry association, told ENDS today.

Rafael Barrera, director of the Spanish renewable energy association ANPIER, told ENDS “each month that goes past without the formation of a government is an opportunity wasted.

“Spain can play an important role in promoting an ambitious climate and energy agenda in Europe” as shown by acting environmental transition minister Teresa Ribera, who “announced targets which went beyond those set by the EU”, he added.

Samuel Martín-Sosa, international spokesman for the NGO Ecologistas en Acción, told ENDS “those EU governments which have looked to Spain to promote ambitious environmental targets will be relieved that the election did not produce a right-wing majority”.

Follow Up:

PSOE electoral programme, PP electoral programme, Unidas Podemos electoral programme.

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