The EastMed pipeline remains a project of common interest despite being gas-based, making it ineligible for EU funding, the European Parliament voted on Tuesday during its plenary session.
During the session, the EP discussed amendments to the guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure, reviewing the existing ones according to the Green Deal, the aim of which is to reach carbon neutrality in the EU by 2050.
In early March, the EU proposed an outline of a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, starting with gas, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In light of this, gas-based projects will no longer be eligible for EU funding, but a temporary derogation will be allowed in Cyprus and Malta to maintain a gas-funded project, which will then be able to form the basis for the transition to hydrogen.
For this reason, the EastMed gas pipeline remains an eligible project for Cyprus, with EU support. These projects will be funded by the EU with the aim of connecting the two member states to the European power network, under strict conditions.
The way these intense and difficult negotiations ended is a very positive conclusion for Cyprus, and the Eastern Mediterranean region, Cypriot MEP Costas Mavrides told the Cyprus News Agency, especially since the EastMed pipeline will remain a project of common interest, meaning it will still be considered eligible for EU funding.
In the new criteria, MEPs voted to include a provision for the pipeline to move hydrogen after the end of its use for natural gas, also asking for a specific schedule that will be in line with the transition to a green economy in 2050.
“Of course, the decision for its implementation remains a matter that will depend on its technical feasibility studies,” he said, adding that “recent geopolitical developments highlight the important role that the Eastern Mediterranean has for the EU’s energy security”.