MADRID (Reuters) - The European Union ought to pay for any new natural gas interconnections between Spain and its European neighbours trying to secure alternative supplies to the Russian gas, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters on Tuesday.
Spain and Portugal, which have little dependence on Russian energy supplies, want an additional gas pipeline to be built between Catalonia and France so the Iberian countries can regasify imported liquefied natural gas and send it on to central Europe.
Another potential project being discussed is a pipeline linking Spain and Italy.
Sanchez told a news conference in Brussels after a meeting of EU heads of state and government it was the bloc's turn to pay for the infrastructure after Spain has heavily invested over the past decades into capacity to unload and regasify LNG.
"We are talking about capacities that were financed by the efforts of the Spanish tax payer and that we will make available to the European Union," he said.
"It must be the European Union who pays for these interconnections," he added.
European countries have been trying to reduce their reliance on Russian energy flows since Moscow's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February and subsequent international sanctions that were followed by Russia's demand to pay for its natural gas in roubles.
(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Belen Carreño; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alison Williams)