French President Emmanuel Macron chastised public utility and energy companies for scaring the public with “absurd scenarios” of potential blackouts this winter.
Rather than addressing the underlying reasons contributing to the burgeoning energy crisis in France and indeed across Europe, President Macron called for an out of sight, out of mind approach to potential power cuts this winter.
Speaking from an EU-Western Balkans summit in Tirana, Albania on Tuesday, Macron bluntly said “stop all this” in reference to discussions surrounding the energy crisis. The French president said that institutions such as the publicly-owned Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE) energy utility firm should not “govern by fear”.
“The role of the government, ministers, operators is to do their job to provide energy, that’s all. And then to call everyone to responsibility so that there is sobriety. It’s not to start scaring people with absurd scenarios and things like the ones I’ve heard in recent hours,” Macron said according to broadcaster BFMTTV.
“We are a great country, we have a great energy model,” he continued, assuring that “we will hold on this winter despite the war. So, I ask everyone to do their job.”
Last week, Xavier Piechaczy, the head of RTE said that this winter, France will look to import energy from its neighbours, including Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and even the United Kingdom, many of which face the prospect of their own blackouts.
While France has traditionally been a net exporter of energy, corrosion issues in its nuclear fleet have reduced the number of active reactors from 56 to 36. This has left the country vulnerable to the soaring cost of gas and oil on the continent following the war in Ukraine.
Even if the country manages to import energy from its neijghbours, Piechaczy said that it is still possible for the country to face blackouts, particularly if it is a cold winter.
French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, the second most powerful politician in the government behind Macron, has called on the public to reduce their energy consumption in order to reduce the strain on the limited resources available, saying: “If we all do even more to reduce our consumption, we will not have a cut.”
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