BRUSSELS — Today, the Energy Committee of the European Parliament rejected a motion for an objection to the third list of energy “projects of common interest” (PCIs) which was proposed to parliamentarians by the European Commission in November 2017. The PCI list is a priority list for infrastructure projects which benefit from advantages for permit granting and environmental impact assessments and which are eligible for CEF funding.
The objection, submitted by an initial number of 18 MEPs from 5 political groups (ALDE, EFDD, GUE, Greens and S&D), highlights the high proportion of fossil fuel infrastructure, notably gas projects, on this priority list. In today’s Committee votes, only 15 Members voted in favour of an objection, while 44 opposed it, with 2 abstentions.
“This list is the first PCI list that was drafted after the Paris Agreement came into force. Instead of aligning the list with international climate commitments, the European Commission proposed an amount of gas projects that remains as high as in the last years with. At the same time, the amount of electricity projects in the list is stagnating. This is unacceptable and incompatible with aiming at keeping global warming below 1.5 or even 2 degrees, says Frida Kieninger from Food & Water Europe.
In the objection, MEPs pointed out to the risks of investing into stranded assets since gas infrastructure constructed now is designed to last until 2060 or beyond. By then, commitments to phase out greenhouse gas emissions will have made most pipelines, compressor stations and LNG terminals irrelevant and unneeded. The PCI list, so the objection, will lock Europe into a new fossil fuel dependence if adopted in its current form and therefore it needs to be reviewed.
An objection is the only possible action for MEPs to show they are dissatisfied with the current form of the PCI list. The European Parliament and the Council can only reject the entire list, including gas and electricity projects, otherwise the list automatically enters into force since the Council already confirmed its support.
“Main aim of the objection is to align the PCI list with climate and energy targets and the Paris Agreement. It asks the Commission to draft a new list in favor of more electricity projects which are crucial to integrate renewable energy as well as other projects supporting a phase out of fossil fuels”, says Frida Kieninger. This list can’t remain serving corporate interests instead of public interest.”
This is the first time since the European Parliament is using its right of scrutiny on the PCI List. The European Commission will have to take it into account that the public will watch its every step when the next PCI List is drafted.
After today’s rejection of motion for an objection, there is still a possibility to submit the objection to the plenary. If at least 38 of the 751 Members of the European Parliament support the objection, it will likely be voted in mid-March.
Contact: Frida Kieninger, Food & Water Europe, Campaign Officer, Rue d’Edimbourg 26, Brussels 1050, Belgium, +32 487 24 99 05, fkieninger(at)fweurope.org
Notes to the editor:
Motion for an Objection:
Proposal for a 3rd PCI list: