European Commission announces an EU-wide list of projects of common interest

15 October 2013, Last updated at, 18:38 EET
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author: Reuters/Scanpix

On Monday, 14 October, the European Commission presented its proposal for the first EU-wide list of projects of common interest. This priority list, which includes 248 energy infrastructure projects, should accelerate the implementation of the energy infrastructure necessary for the EU internal market.

"The list of projects of common interest presented by the European Commission is an important intermediate step towards the EU internal energy market. Particular proposals of the European Commission undoubtedly contribute to the implementation of the EU energy infrastructure projects. We hope that this list of energy infrastructure projects will help the European Union solve the most urgent energy infrastructure challenges," said Lithuanian Minister of Energy Jaroslav Neverovič.

A list of Projects of Common Interest includes energy infrastructure projects of regional importance. In the proposed list, the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) is highlighted as one of the regional initiatives. The list of projects of common interest proposed by the European Commission includes six BEMIP energy infrastructure projects that are implemented with the involvement of Lithuania. Three of them belong to the electricity sector: the Lithuania-Poland line"LitPol Link", the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania synchronous interconnection with the Continental European networks, and the capacity increase of hydro-pumped storage in Kruonis, and three belong to the gas sector: capacity enhancement of "Klaipėda-Kiemėnai" gas pipeline, enhancement of Latvia-Lithuania gas interconnection, and the Poland-Lithuania gas interconnection.

“In the gas sector, one of the priorities is the security of supply. Our aim is that EU member states such as Lithuania and Poland, Romania and Bulgaria gain access to at least two alternative sources of gas. We seek the integration of these countries into the EU, and consequently they should not be dependent on single gas supply from Russia," admitted EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger presenting the EU list of projects of common interest at a press conference.

The list of projects of common interest proposed by the European Commission will be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council that is currently chaired by Lithuania.

"Lithuania, as the EU Presidency, will seek for the fastest possible approval by the EU Council of the list of projects of common interest, thus creating all the necessary conditions for more rapid implementation from the beginning of 2014. The European Council agreed that the EU internal energy market must be created by 2014, and after 2015 no energy islands should remain in the EU. The list of projects of common interest that the European Commission proposed today is a concrete step and the instrument for the elimination of energy isolation that conditions the EU energy islands (including Lithuanian) as well as the creation of the EU internal energy market", stressed the Minister of Energy.

Implementation of the EU projects of common interest will be ensured by accelerated planning and permit granting procedures, as a binding three-and-a-half-year term for the permit granting is provided. These projects can also be submitted for funding under an EU support, namely the Connecting Europe Facility, which budget for 2014–2020 may reach 5.85 billion euros. 

On 4-5 November, Vilnius will host a high level conference devoted to energy infrastructure that will discuss the EU projects of common interest. This conference is one of the most important events during the Lithuanian Presidency on the energy policy agenda. The conference will focus on the perspective of the implementation of EU common interest projects and define the follow-up actions necessary to create the EU energy infrastructure and the EU internal energy market.

The list of projects of common interest presented by the European Commission:
http://ec.europa.eu/energy/infrastructure/pci/doc/2013_pci_projects_country.pdf

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