Pedro Sanchez addresses a news conference to presents his government's results since the beginning of the year, in Madrid on Friday. AFP
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked his ministers, public officials and private sector employees on Friday to stop wearing ties and stay cool as heatwaves sweep parts of Europe, stoking demand for energy-guzzling air-conditioning.
Appearing at a news conference in an open-necked white shirt and blue shirt, SÃ¡nchez explained he dressed less formally not as a nod to the casual on Friday custom but to curb utility use. He did not say how going tieless conserved energy.
"I'd like you all to note that I am not wearing a tie," Sanchez told a news conference. "This means we can all save from an energy point of view."
High summer temperatures are straining Europe's power systems and raising concern about the prospects for a regional drive to save more gas in case the war in Ukraine prompts further reductions in supplies from Russia.
Striking a more serious note, Sanchez said his government would introduce emergency measures next week to improve efficiency and energy saving.
For now, he said: "I have asked ministers, all public officials, and I would like to ask the private sector too, if they haven't already done so, not to wear a tie when it isn't necessary because that way we will be confronting the energy saving that is so important in our country."
Spain has sweltered for more than a month, with temperatures in parts of the country often surpassing 40ËšC. The government has urged people to reduce electricity costs by not overusing air conditioning.
Rising energy costs for households and businesses in Spain has been a major issue in recent months, especially since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. SÃ¡nchez said the government would present a new energy-saving plan next week, but he gave no details.
He said the plan was designed to cut utility bills and to reduce energy dependency on "the aggressor, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin."