On 12 February, the EP rejected a motion tabled by the Greens to vote against the “fourth list of projects of common interest” (PCI), presented last October by the European Commission (EC). The motion was rejected by an overwhelming majority of 443 votes against, 169 in favour, and 36 abstentions.
The fourth list of PCIs contains 151 energy infrastructure projects, 108 of which are related to electricity and smart grids. However, and this was the purpose of the motion, it also contains 32 gas, 6 oil and 5 CO2 network infrastructure projects. According to critics, these projects contradict Europe’s ambition championed by EC President Ursula von der Leyen to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
EU officials reiterated the importance of the European Green Deal objectives, which they claim would not be incompatible with the validation of the fourth list of PCIs. Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson stated that her and her cabinet are “fully committed to reviewing the TEN-E Regulation this year and to working closely with the EP to ensure that investments are fit for the future of the EU”, adding that she shares the EP’s vision of a “modern, clean, safe and intelligent European energy infrastructure”.
According to the EC’s new policy line, funding would only be granted for “future-proof” gas infrastructure projects, capable of handling low-carbon gases, such as hydrogen, and avoiding fossil fuel stranded assets. Finally, the Commissioner for the European Green Deal, Mr Frans Timmermans, reiterated that “to receive EU funding, projects on the [new] PCI list will have to support the ambitions of the Green Deal”.