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European Commission and Energy Ministers of France, Portugal and Spain strengthen cooperation on cross-border energy infrastructure in South-West Europe

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Today, the Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the energy ministers of France, Portugal and Spain on cross-border energy interconnections in South-West Europe.

The signatories agreed on the importance of building the necessary energy infrastructure to achieve a secure and efficient internal energy market. They recognised that a fully interconnected European energy network is a precondition to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy in the EU.

The MoU builds on the cooperation in the framework of the High-Level Group on interconnections in South-West Europe, the 2015 Madrid Declaration and the 2018 Lisbon Declaration.

In 2023, the High-Level group proved instrumental in providing political steer and ensuring timely implementation of key projects. For example, this year, project promoters were able to take the final investment decision and sign contracts for cables and converters for the Bay of Biscay project, which is a key electricity interconnection project between the Iberian Peninsula and France.

With today’s MoU, signatories commit the High-Level Group to cooperate on key strategic projects such as establishing cross-border interconnections and swiftly implementing priority projects on electricity. The MoU also introduces new priorities on offshore infrastructure and renewable energy projects, exploring the potential of renewable hydrogen in the Iberian Peninsula, and the potential of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen in France and related transport infrastructure.

A new Action Plan of the High-Level Group on interconnections in South-West Europe has been agreed in line with the memorandum of understanding and identified priorities.

Both the MoU and the South-West Europe Action Plan come just weeks after the Commission adopted the first list of Projects of Common and Mutual Interest under the revised TEN-E Regulation and the EU Action Plan for Grids.

Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said:

‘I welcome the renewed commitment of France, Spain and Portugal to extend cooperation within the High-Level Group for Interconnections in South-West Europe. Cross-border interconnections are an important vehicle to accommodate more renewables in the EU energy system and to better integrate the Iberian Peninsula into the EU energy market as a whole. As a result, the EU can be more autonomous and efficient when it comes to producing and supplying energy.’

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