Let it never be said that an energy crisis does not yield comedic moments. On Friday, the Spanish prime minister appeared before the press in business attire sans necktie, and prompted his compatriots to do the same. With less ties needing ironing, less energy is wasted—or so the logic goes.
“I would like you to see that I am not wearing a tie,” Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, informed reporters—no doubt grateful for this provision of enlightenment—on Friday after unveiling his cabinet’s achievements since the start of the year. Following his rather odd statement, he proceeded to call for his personal fashion choice to be adopted more broadly.
“That means that we can all save energy. So I have asked all ministers and public decision-makers [to follow suit],” the nation’s leader explained, urging the private sector—with its overweening reliance on that particular article of clothing—to “if they haven’t done it yet, when there is no need, they should not wear a tie either because, in that way, we will all be contributing to the energy savings that are so necessary in our country.” And so, what could pass for a scene in a whimsical political satire, has entered the realm of reality.
It is unclear if Sánchez wants to turn his appeal into a nation-wide campaign, and whether Spaniards will be asked to forego other energy-depleting lifestyle choices.
Sánchez’s ear-perking advice comes on the heels of an EU agreement for each member state to cut down on its gas consumption by 15% between now and March. This plan would be voluntary at first, based on measures such as temperature limits on cooling and heating systems, fuel switching and awareness campaigns. Such measures are intended to safeguard against the worst-case scenario: a complete cessation of Russian gas imports.
It is hoped that through these various savings measures, 45 billion cubic meters of gas will be stored away, ready for use when winter comes. Thus far, Moscow has not yet gone the route of completely starving Europe of its energy needs, in retaliation for the bloc’s reaction to the invasion of Ukraine.
Spain occupies a unique position within this agreement. Its minister of ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, had taken issue with the original proposal, and said that while Spain was willing to support a revised agreement and show solidarity with the more vulnerable central European nations, the country’s gas savings goal was well below the stipulated 15%. Since Spain gets its gas primarily from Africa and has little gas and electricity connectivity with the rest of Europe, it was exempted from the final, agreed upon, set of measures.
Yet, as is clear by now, that does not stop its leaders from coming up with inventive ways of their own to promote conscientiousness on the energy front. Oddly enough, in neighboring France, whether or not to tie up at the National Assembly has become a concern. Had those far-Left ruffians, the NUPES, understood the energy case to be made in their defense, they would never have caused such a stir!
Tristan Vanheuckelom writes on film, literature, and comics for various Dutch publications. He is an avid student of history, political theory, and religion, and is a News Writer at The European Conservative.