“Once again we demonstrate that cooperation pays off and that the Energy Union is becoming a reality with tangible impact on the ground. These are important projects with major cross-border benefits and by implementing them we strengthen energy resilience of EU Member States. The CEF has yet again shown tremendous added value in our modernisation efforts.” Said Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič.
EU Member States agreed on the Commission’s proposal to invest €873 million in key European energy infrastructure projects. Europe’s transition to a clean and modern economy is the goal of the Energy Union, a priority of the Juncker Commission. It is now becoming the new reality on the ground, and one important building block is adapting the European infrastructure to the future energy needs. Properly interconnected electricity lines and gas pipelines form the backbone of an integrated European energy market anchored on the principle of solidarity. Thus, supporting these 17 selected electricity and gas projects,signals Europe’s willingness to upgrade and make the European energy system more competitive that will ultimately deliver cheaper and secure energy to all European consumers.The EU funding for the chosen projects comes from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the European support programme for trans-European infrastructure.
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added: “The construction of the Biscay Gulf France-Spain interconnection marks an important step towards ending the isolation of the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of the internal energy market. Only a fully interconnected market will improve Europe’s security of supply, ending the dependence of single suppliers and give consumers more choice. An energy infrastructure which is fit for purpose is also essential for renewables to thrive and for delivering on the Paris Agreement.”
Under the Connecting Europe Facility, a total of €5 billion has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-2020.
“The EU remains committed to the Paris Agreement and its full and swift implementation. Domestically, we are progressing steadily with the finalisation of the measures to reduce our emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Internationally, we are strengthening our existing partnerships and seeking new alliances. Our aim is to raise global climate ambition, follow through with concrete action and support our partners, in particular the most vulnerable countries.” Said Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
The European Union, Canada and China are joining forces to strengthen global action in the fight against climate change. They will co-host a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action on 15-16 September in Montreal, Canada. This gathering, a first of its kind, seeks to galvanise global momentum for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and will bring together ministers and high-level representatives from 34 economies that are part of the G20 and other invited countries. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will jointly lead the roundtable discussion on climate action and clean growth. The meeting in Montreal takes place only days after this year’s State of the Union Address by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker where he underlines that he “wants Europe to be the leader when it comes to the fight against climate change. Set against the collapse of ambition in the United States, Europe will ensure we make our planet great again. It is the shared heritage of all of humanity” (read #SOTEU2017 SPEECH/17/3165). Two months before the next United Nations climate conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, the meeting will also provide the space for discussions on the expected outcomes of upcoming UN climate talks.
“After much hard work on both sides, I am proud of the progress we have made with our Swiss colleagues. As the world’s largest cap and trade system, we have always aimed to promote the growth of the international carbon market.” Said climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
The EU has moved one step closer to linking its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for the first time. The Commission adopted two proposals to finalise an agreement with Switzerland on linking the EU ETS with the Swiss emissions trading system. Linking the European system with other systems expands opportunities for emissions reductions and reduces costs. Once the agreement with Switzerland takes effect, participants in the EU ETS will be able to use units from the Swiss system for compliance, and vice versa. Negotiations between the Commission and Switzerland opened in 2010. A linking agreement was initialled in January 2016 but the signature and conclusion of the agreement were put on hold following the Swiss referendum. Following high-level contacts and a change in Swiss legislation, a meeting between Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Swiss President Doris Leuthard in April (see press conference and SPEECH/17/897) opened the path for today’s decisions.
The Commission’s proposal for the signature of the agreement and a proposal for its conclusion (ratification) will now be discussed by the Council of Ministers of the European Union. The Council will require the consent of the European Parliament in order to conclude the agreement. Subject to final conclusion, the agreement could be signed before the end of the year. The entry into force would take place at the start of the year that follows ratification by both sides. The EU ETS is a key tool to tackle climate change with a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is the world’s first major carbon market and its biggest one. In October 2014, the European Council agreed on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the EU setting an ambitious economy-wide domestic target of at least 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction for 2030.
“International LNG markets are set for major change with substantial new liquefaction capacity coming on stream. LNG prices across the Atlantic and Pacific basin are converging and the LNG market moves towards higher liquidity and flexibility. For the EU, the current developments in the global LNG market offer an opportunity to let LNG play its full role in diversifying gas supplies to all member states and in enhancing the competitiveness in the internal gas market.” Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said ahead of the sign of a joint Memorandum of Cooperation on LiquefiedNatural Gas (LNG).
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko on 11th July, will sign a joint Memorandum of Cooperation on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). As the EU and Japan taken together account for nearly 50% of overall global LNG consumption, reinforced cooperation between the EU and Japan will promote the liquidity, flexibility and transparency of the global LNG market. The signature takes place just days after leaders at the EU-Japan Summit in Brussels reached a political agreement on two landmark agreements, the Economic Partnership Agreement and the strategic partnership agreement.
Commissioner Cañete concluded: “Japan is the world’s largest LNG importer. Being natural allies in this regard, the EU and Japan both want to promote the liquidity, transparency and flexibility of the global LNG market. This will ensure competitive LNG supplies and make the international market more resilient and prepared to respond to emergencies.”
The European Commission has today adopted a request for the Council of the European Union for a mandate to negotiate with the Russian Federation the key principles for the operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. The Commission seeks to ensure that, if built, Nord Stream 2 operates in a transparent and non-discriminatory way with an appropriate degree of regulatory oversight, in line with key principles of international and EU energy law.
The Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “Creating a well-diversified and competitive gas market is a priority of the EU’s energy security and Energy Union strategy. As we have stated already several times, Nord Stream 2 does not contribute to the Energy Union’s objectives. If the pipeline is nevertheless built, the least we have to do is to make sure that it will be operated in a transparent manner and in line with the main EU energy market rules.” Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added: “As any other infrastructure project in the EU, Nord Stream 2 cannot and should not operate in a legal void or according to a third country’s energy laws only. We are seeking to obtain a Council mandate to negotiate with Russia a specific regime which will apply key principles of EU energy law to Nord Stream 2 to preserve the functioning of the European internal energy market“. The Commission is committed to the Energy Union objectives, including energy security. The priority is to create a well-diversified and competitive gas market. The work to consequently dismantle barriers to trade and supporting critical gas infrastructure is ongoing.