Polish energy projects appear on EC Projects of Common Interest list

The Baltic Pipe gas pipeline project connecting Poland and Denmark and the Poland-Lithuania gas inter-connector (GIPL) were recognised as priority projects. Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

The European Commission (EC) published an updated list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) on Thursday, or projects aimed at improving the energy integration of member states, which features a number of Polish joint projects.

PCIs are "are key cross border infrastructure projects that link the energy systems of EU countries," according to the EC website. "They are intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and climate objectives: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for all citizens, and the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement."

Initiatives on the list must have a significant impact on energy markets and market integration in at least two member states and can take advantage of expedited permitting through the "Connecting Europe" instrument.

The list includes inter-system connections between Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, among them a Polish-Slovak gas inter-connector and the north-south gas corridor in eastern Poland. The Baltic Pipe gas pipeline project connecting Poland and Denmark and the Poland-Lithuania gas inter-connector (GIPL) were recognised as priority projects.

Other project making the EC PCI list were a gas pipeline from Adamow in eastern Poland to the city of Brody in Ukraine's western Lviv Oblast, and an extension to the Pomeranian Crude Oil Pipeline.

The list was criticised by the Friends of the Earth Europe environmental organisation, which claimed the EU was supporting the use of fossil fuels. "In one of its last acts, the Juncker Commission’s support for yet more fossil gas projects will bring us a step closer to climate breakdown. This new PCI list makes a mockery of the EU’s commitments to deliver a ‘carbon neutral’ Europe, and insults all those who have voted and protested for decisive climate action," said Colin Roche of Friends of the Earth Europe.

The organisation pointed out that natural gas is a fossil fuel of high emissions, the use of which is not in line with the Paris Agreement or the EU's climate goals.

The EC defended the list pointing out that the latest, fourth, edition clearly shows a direction of withdrawing from fossil fuels. EC spokesperson Anna-Kaiasa Itkonen told a Brussels press conference that the previous list contained 53 gas projects, whereas now there are 32, which she said is a very clear trend in reducing the financing of gas infrastructure in favour of electrical, for example.

The list will now be presented to the European Parliament and the member states at the EU Council for acceptance. If it is not opposed it will come into force in two months.