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Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Press Release January 21st 2020:

Energy Commissioner Simson reveals how 4th PCI List would circumvent EIB ban on gas infrastructure lending. 

DG Energy actions compounded by Key study shock findings that €29 billion cost of 4th PCI list of gas projects supported by public funds are not needed.  

Deputy-Director General of DG Energy, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt admitted breaches by DG Energy of the PCI Regulation  to the ITRE Committee on October 17th, 2019 in not assessing the climate impacts of the gas projects on the 4th PCI list, but he said that this assessment would be undertaken for “future projects”. A formal internal review process has now been initiated into this breach by the Commission of EU law on how PCI gas projects on the 4th PCI list were illegally approved by DG Energy.  

Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson  then admitted to the ITRE Committee meeting of December 5th that the EIB ban on fossil fuel financing will not apply to projects on the 4th PCI list, noting that PCI Status is a pre-condition for CEF funding.


It is now clear that the 4th PCI list is being used to circumvent the EIB ban on climate-unfriendly gas projects before the loophole gets closed on the 5th PCI list.


We now know from Scientists that importing US fracked gas into Europe has a carbon-equivalent footprint 44% worse than coal, that fracked gas has worse climate impacts than conventional gas (due to the Achillee’s heel of Methane Emissions), and that DG Energy deliberately and illegally refused to address these facts for the projects on the 4th PCI list because it was politically convenient to do so. The real motivation was a Comprador move to provide an overseas market for US Methane - a fact that was so blatantly clear when the US imposed sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in December last.


With the latest study by consulting firm Artelys for the European Climate Foundation published on January 20th 2020  finding that “the 32 natural gas infrastructure PCI projects combined are calculated to come at a cost of €29 billion” and concluding that “most of the 32 gas infrastructure projects on the 4th PCI list are unnecessary from a security point of view, and represent a potential overinvestment of tens of billions of EUR, supported by European public funds”, is it not now  time for MEPs  to call a stop to this madness in its upcoming vote on the 4th PCI list?


It is not acceptable for Commissioner Simson to make thinly-veiled threats to the ITRE Committee on December 5th that not approving the 4th PCI list would mean some “climate-friendly” projects on the 4th PCI list would not be eligible for CEF funding. Does she expect that MEPs  will turn a blind eye to all the Climate-unfriendly gas projects on this 4th PCI list that were illegally assessed by DG Energy?


Of course, the greatest sleight of hand of all is that the Commission speaks only about access to funding for PCI projects as if that is the only advantage for developers whose projects are given PCI accreditation. The real advantage, however, is that PCI accreditation from the European Commission is extremely powerful because any projects put on this list are allocated the status of "overriding public interest“ in a special fast-track planning process in each Member State and are thus almost guaranteed development consent. Currently it is proposed that 5 projects for LNG terminals in Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Poland be included on the latest 4th PCI list (out of a total of 14 that have received support from the EU since 2013).


That means the gas PCI projects must get priority over even renewable energy projects in Member States. This is obfuscation being practiced by the developers, the Member States and the European Commission on a grand scale by insinuating that the only advantage to PCI accreditation is funding. Who will tell these people that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes?


MEPs  have a duty of oversight and a duty to make evidence-based decisions in a transparent manner in the common interest.


A  vote against the 4th PCI list by MEPs will be in keeping with the July 16th, 2019 policy turnaround announced by President  Ursula Von der Leyen when she announced that she would "introduce a carbon border tax to avoid carbon leakage".