Posted on Dec 15, 2020
The European Commission has presented its proposal for a newly revised Trans-European Network for Energy (TEN-E). This EU regulation sets criteria for cross-border infrastructure projects in the EU by defining which projects of common interest ("PCIs") will be prioritised and financially supported. The new TEN-E Regulation will shape the European Union's energy infrastructure for years and decades to come.
The current TEN-E Regulation enables that fossil fuel infrastructure projects continue to be funded, even though they are no longer in line with European climate targets and the European Green Deal. A change of the regulation is therefore a crucial part of European climate policy.
The European Parliament called on the Commission to present a revised version of the regulation by the end of 2020. The European Ombudsman also criticised the lack of sustainability criteria in the currently valid TEN-E Regulation.
Jutta Paulus, member of the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and substitute member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, comments:
"It is good that sustainability is finally becoming a binding criterion for the promotion of European infrastructure. However, concrete, verifiable benchmarks are missing! For example, no figures are given for eligible emission reductions. This means that the sustainability of infrastructure projects cannot be verified. Thus, the regulation falls short of its possibilities. There are already clear guidelines in the EU taxonomy that could have been used. The Board of Scrutiny of the European Commission has also criticised this. It is incomprehensible why the Commission has not taken up this criticism. Instead, cloudy formulations open the door to a further wasting of taxpayers' money for fossil infrastructure.
"The promotion of fossil gases through the back door must finally stop. However, according to the Commission's proposal, the grid operators should continue to decide which infrastructure projects are subsidised. The Commission wants to impose some supervision on the operators, but still leave the final decision to them."
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