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Lionel Laurent

Why are Spain and Portugal Getting Special Energy Treatment?

The Iberian neighbors got an exception from the increased natural gas costs faced by the rest of the continent. That’s not good for the union.

Wind turbines in Spain.

Wind turbines in Spain.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Spain and Portugal scored a diplomatic coup with a new alliance to fight the surge in energy prices. Not against Putin’s Russia, which has its boot on the windpipe of European gas importers, but against their fellow European Union partners.

In the short term, it will shield Spanish and Portuguese consumers, whose anger over inflation spilled out onto the streets during May Day protests. But in the long term, the deal risks making visible cracks in European unity worse.