EU countries meet to tussle over gas project funding – About Your Online Magazine

A large European Union flag rests in the center of Schuman Square, outside the European Commission headquarters, on the eve of Europe Day, commemorating the declaration made by Robert Schuman in 1950 in Brussels, Belgium, 8 May 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman // Photo file

European Union energy ministers meet in Luxembourg on Friday to discuss extending EU support for some cross-border natural gas projects, though the European Commission says that funding must end to meet climate change targets.

EU “TEN-E” rules define which cross-border energy projects can be labeled as Projects of Common Interest (PIC), giving them access to certain EU funds and accelerated permits.

The EU is updating the rules to meet its climate change targets, and in December the European Commission proposed a new version, excluding dedicated oil and gas infrastructure. see More information

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said on Friday that she hopes the rules will remove support for fossil fuel projects.

Energy ministers from EU countries will try on Friday to reach an agreement on their position. They have to negotiate the final rules with the European Parliament.

A proposed position of member states, prepared by Portugal and seen by Reuters, would extend the financing of some gas projects. see More information

This divided the 27 countries, with 11 countries, including Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, demanding rules that exclude fossil fuels, including gas.

The TEN-E policy will be a “litmus test” of the EU’s pledge to eliminate its net emissions by 2050, these countries said in an article previously published by Reuters. see More information

Portugal’s proposal stated that, by 2030, investments in the rehabilitation of gas pipelines for transporting hydrogen should be authorized to transport natural gas mixed with hydrogen.

“This solution allows member states that use more polluting energy sources to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, and the gradual injection of renewable gases into the grid”, said Portugal in a document shared with the countries before the meeting of Friday.

He also said that projects on the islands of Malta and Cyprus with PCI status should maintain it until these countries are fully connected to the European gas grid.

That could help secure the completion of the pipeline from Greece, Cyprus and Israel to supply Europe with gas from the eastern Mediterranean.

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Paula Fonseca