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Opinion

Spain and its controversial blackout

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If at the beginning of January we had been shown the film of our lives in the middle of August - with the burning summer - we might well have taken a different attitude to how bad the year, our environment and the whole world have become. 
 
For seven long months we have been receiving bad news, one after the other, in doses. In the end, we have become habituated to this bitter bad medicine. 
 
Russia and its bloody invasion of Ukraine by a "philosopher" who misses the former USSR. The United States and its bloody imperialism. China and its bloody economic and technological ambition. With this scenario, the world will last us three days. 
 
And while in Europe, people are browning their skin under the intense sun, the return in September to the harsh reality puts autumn and winter under harsh conditions. Not just the weather, which we already know about with the intense blizzards, the drop in temperature and the snowfalls. No, the worst is yet to come: a winter with strict energy rationing and almost no heating, and this is thanks to Russia and thanks also to Europe's lousy energy diversification plans and the Europeans' pitiful efforts to achieve energy self-sufficiency. 
 
The Russian oil and gas cuts in their supply continue because Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has ordered them to repay the Europeans one by one for the sanctions they, along with the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea and other countries, have applied to Russia to put pressure on the Kremlin to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and bring it to the negotiating table. It is too late now, Putin has the upper hand.
 
Most recently, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have run out of their usual Russian oil supplies. And the worst is yet to come: the cut-off of Russian gas supplies, which is used, among other things, to heat European businesses, government institutions and millions of households. 
 
Russia will take its revenge in September. The citizens are only thinking about the summer holidays and the rulers about the eventful end of the year. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, is calling for gas rationing and solidarity between countries for those who have the least.
 
And there is no way to say no to an EU that opens the money tap every time a European member state needs to be rescued from debacle. Spain, a recurrent beneficiary of and rescued by European funds, has to show solidarity with the cause.
 
"According to the agreements endorsed by the European Commission, it is Spain's responsibility to ensure a 7% saving in its energy consumption, to be counted from 1 August. While awaiting the finalisation of the additional Contingency Plan to be submitted to Brussels at the end of September, the government estimates that the savings derived from the generalised application of the measures of the RDL of 1 August could reach between 4 and 5% of the total," according to La Moncloa.

On the subject
 
This will be a phased operation. The first consists of an energy saving plan that will come into effect from zero hours on Wednesday 10 August and obliges all businesses to switch off their lighting from ten o'clock at night. Air conditioning must be kept at a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius and heating in autumn and winter at a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius. 
 
The "blackout", as this controversial measure is called here in Spain, has citizens uneasy, traders annoyed and the governments of the autonomous communities other than the PSOE almost in revolt. 
 
In Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, warned that turning off shop windows and lighting in Madrid after ten o'clock at night is an invitation to crime. She has already warned that crime will increase. 
 
Díaz Ayuso speaks of sadness and of a government led by socialist Pedro Sánchez obsessed with ruining businesses, shrinking the middle class and making life difficult for citizens.
 
In Spain there is a tradition of nightlife, not just at weekends, people like to go out for dinner and drinks. And walking, people walk a lot during the day, at night and in the early morning; they simply like to enjoy their city. Living half-heartedly will end up dynamiting the weariness of a citizenry that has had enough, and torpedoing their leisure time is like taking away their freedom. As soon as the assaults begin to swarm, Sánchez's government will be in trouble.