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Number 1 on Russian gas – POLITICO

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— France, European champion of Russian gas

— Energy programming: legal risks on the regulatory path

— No obligation to renovate for social housing

Hello everyone, It is Thursday April 11th. Your newsletter announced it to you yesterday, and the minister confirmed it this morning in Le Figaro: there will be no “cathedral law” on energy. In terms of energy programming, it takes up the major decisions outlined by the president in Belfort and adjusted by Agnès Pannier-Runacher last year and will pass them by decree, before the end of the year.

Waiting for, the minister wants to discuss “concrete things”: number of wind turbine masts at sea, distribution of wind turbines on land, the power of existing ones… He will do this within the framework of the consultation organized under the aegis of the Commission national public debate, which should be seized this week, he promises. The consultation will last “two to three months”, specifies Roland Lescure in the article, which lists the objectives of the new multi-annual energy programming.

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ON THE PODIUM. France is the European country that has imported the most Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) since the start of the year, according to data analyzed for POLITICO by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA in English), a Finnish think tank.

In details, France imported 1.5 million tonnes of LNG from Russia in the first quarter of 2024, for more than 600 million euros, more than any other member state. France is also the country whose purchases of Russian gas have increased the most compared to last year, over the same period.

The reason : the TotalEnergies group, linked by a long-term contract with Yamal, a gas liquefaction company based in Siberia. This provides that the French energy company imports at least 4 million tonnes of LNG per year until 2032.

No European sanctions is not imposed on Russian LNG, in particular because of the opposition of Hungary, which is very dependent on it. But at a time when President Emmanuel Macron Russia has strengthened his position towards Vladimir Putin on the military level, these purchases go badly with his European partners.

“France cannot on the one hand say that we must be tough with Russia, and on the other hand give it lots of money,” protests a diplomat from a Member State, brought together by my colleague Victor Jack . .

In the nails. Contacted by POLITICO, a TotalEnergies spokesperson explains that the company is in accordance with current European rules and “does not lobby against sanctions”.

At Bercy, we recognize that the subject is not simple, but we plead for respect for existing contracts. “If it is to continue paying for gas that we do not import, it would not make sense,” we told the ministry.

In the rest of the ranking of the countries most friendly to Russian gas: Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands. These three countries have all indicated that they would be ready to reduce their imports, but only as part of joint action with Paris. My Brussels colleague Victor Jack tells you more in this explosive article.

Today, Prime Minister’s trip to Canada accompanied, among others, by the Minister of Energy and Industry, Roland Lescure, and executives from Orano, Air Liquide and Lhyfe.

At 10:30 a.m., hearings of Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecological Transition, then of Stéphane Séjourné, Minister of Foreign Affairs, by the senatorial commission of inquiry into TotalEnergies.

WITHOUT LAW, NOTHING WILL GO. Adopting the regulatory route for energy programming is not without legal risks. “We cannot pass by decree”, met lawyer Arnaud Gossé, integrated by my colleague Arthur Nazaret. “In November 2019, the French Parliament decided within the framework of the Energy-Climate law that this fell within the scope of the law. »

Irony of history, it was the presidential majority which added this obligation to the law. An influential Macronist deputy cowardly, despite: “The absence of law has no serious consequences for the general public, it has a little more impact on the credibility of national representation. »

Cold. These decrees will inevitably be the subject of appeal to the Council of State, Arnaud Gossé predicts. “There will always be someone unhappy,” he says. Which risks chilling developers. “For the duration of the appeal, there will be a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads,” points out the specialist in environmental and energy law.


NEW HOLE FOR STRAINERS. Unsurprisingly, the government will exempt French social housing from energy renovation obligations imposed by the European directive on energy efficiency. He points this out during the consultation on its transposition.

it is not a surprise, because the European Social Housing Federation had pushed for the inclusion of this exemption and had obtained it with the support of France. The text requires States to rehabilitate at least 3% of their public building surface area each year to reach the “low consumption” level.

It’s not a renunciation but “flexibility” promises Laurent Ghekiere, the director of European affairs for the Social Union for Housing, which brings together French HLM organizations. “We should not be forced to renovate if we do not have sufficient funding beforehand,” he adds, at the risk that the cost of this renovation will have a direct impact on residents’ rents.

” Damage “, responds Etienne Charbit du Cler, an association working on the energy transition, recalling that 8.1% of social housing is thermal sieves. He fears that this exemption will lead to a slowdown in renovations. Laurent Ghekiere ensures that the sector is working hard to rehabilitate the 380,000 social housing units classified F and G before their ban on the location provided for in 2028 by the Climate and Resilience Law.

3 billion euros

This is what EDF will have invested in the construction of six new nuclear reactors by the end of the year, its boss Luc Rémont announced to the Senate. And this, while work has not yet started at Penly (Seine-Maritime), on the site which will host the first two reactors.

DIPLOMATIC BY ESSENCE. If you plan to skip the hearings of Christophe Béchu and Stéphane Séjourné, this morning before the commission of inquiry into TotalEnergies, your newsletter is ready to bet that they will strongly resemble, for one, the passage of Bruno Le Maire of April 4 and, for the other, to that of Jean-Yves Le Drian on March 25.

The Quay, gas station side. The former minister described the role of French diplomacy as “support for our businesses, including in unstable regions”, summarizes the team of Yannick Jadot, the green rapporteur of the commission, who wonders if the position has change. And since Bruno Le Maire declared that “if we want to decarbonize Total, we must first decarbonize transport in France”, his counterpart from the Ecological Transition will have to detail how the government intends to go about it.

A little disappointed…. Between the reserve imposed on Yannick Jadot on the Russian question, because of TotalEnergies’ complaint against him, and the list of those interviewed and the questions from senators which are very broad, the commission of inquiry lacks energy in the eyes of your servant. Two NGOs that we surveyed did not shy away from the media coverage of the subject that it allowed.

— There are no wind turbines in Indre-en-Loire. An exception in a well-stocked region, which La Tribune looked into.

— At altitude, buildings crack and sag more and more quickly under the effect of melting permafrost. Le Monde describes this adaptation challenge for ski resorts.

— My Brussels colleague Tommaso Lecca takes stock of the still laborious efforts of aviation to decarbonize.

A big thank you to our editor Alexandre Léchenet.


Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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