Eleven EU states oppose continued gas funding: press
Eleven EU states mostly in west Europe want to see cross-border gas infrastructure excluded from the bloc's TEN-E rules for defining what can be classified as projects of common interest (PCIs), which enjoy access to grants and fast-tracked permitting, Reuters reported on June 1.
The European Commission (EC) proposed last December revising the TEN-E regulations to close the door on support for gas infrastructure, in order to align EU energy policy with its latest climate goals. The move follows a 2019 decision by the EU's European Investment Bank (EIB), which helps fund many PCIs, to phase out oil and gas funding by the end of this year.
The EC's proposal is under review by the European Parliament and EU member states and once approved, the revisions should come into force in 2023. A new list of PCIs will be selected later this year under the existing TEN-E regulations, but will have to meet tighter sustainability criteria. Only one gas project, a pipeline linking Bulgaria with Serbia, is expected to be included.
Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands and Sweden have issued a joint paper calling for the TEN-E regulations to rule out support for oil and gas infrastructure completely, Reuters reported, citing a copy of the document. What is more, they also want to exclude projects that involve the blending of hydrogen with gas.
"TEN-E must not facilitate investment in fossil fuel infrastructure nor blending of hydrogen with fossil fuels," the paper states. "TEN-E must contribute to developing the framework for a viable pathway away from reliance on fossil fuels."
How the regulations are revised will be a "litmus test" of the EU's commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, it says.