French Minister for the Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire attends the MEDEF union summer forum “La Rencontre des Entrepreneurs de France, LaREF” at the Paris Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, France, August 30, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo

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CERNOBBIO, Italy, Sept 3 (Reuters) – France should focus on tackling the near term energy challenge posed by the approaching winter season, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Saturday when asked about a possible new gas pipeline via the Pyrenees.

“The short term challenge is to have more gas, more oil more electricity coming from other countries than Russia,” he told reporters at a press conference at the Ambrosetti business forum in northern Italy.

“This is a question of months, weeks, days, I’m not sure that a new pipeline could help us to go through the winter,” he added.

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“Let’s focus on the very short term challenges,” he said, adding public opinion could question an investment in fossil fuel infrastructure because it is expected instead of an acceleration in the green energy transition.

“Electricity and hydrogen seem to me to be more promising than a new gas pipeline.”

Spain’s energy minister this week criticized France’s reluctance to support a project to build a third gas connection between the two countries to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.

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Reporting by Valentina Za Editing by Keith Weir

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