Security of supply: Commission participates at inauguration of the Baltic Pipe


The Commission welcomed today the inauguration of the Baltic Pipe, at the opening ceremony of this new gas pipeline in Goleniów, Poland. As the EU ramps up its efforts to boost security of energy supply, this new infrastructure will enhance the diversification of gas imports in Central-Eastern Europe and the Baltic States by opening a new route from the North Sea to the EU. Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said: “‘The Baltic Pipe is a key project for the security of supply of the region and the result of an EU policy drive to diversify sources of gas. The pipeline will play a valuable role in mitigating the current energy crisis.“ The Commission has long supported this project politically and financially as part of its work to improve the EU’s energy infrastructure under the TEN-E Regulation. The Baltic Pipe has been a Project of Common Interest since 2013 and has received around €267 million of EU funding through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), helping to complete the preparatory studies (around 51 million EUR) and construction works (around 215 million EUR). It will enable the import of up to 10 bcm per year of gas from Norway to Poland through Denmark and the transmission of 3 bcm annually of gas from Poland to Denmark. The start of gas transmission is planned for 1 October 2022. You can find more information here. (For more information: Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Giulia Bedini – Tel: +32 229 58661)


Sri Lanka: EU releases €1.5 million to respond to growing humanitarian needs


Today, the European Commission released €1.5 million in humanitarian aid to respond to the ongoing socio-economic crisis affecting millions of people in Sri Lanka. The new EU funding will mainly focus on multipurpose cash interventions to respond to the basic needs of the population, among which food, health, education and protection. Humanitarian assistance swill target the most vulnerable households that require immediate support. Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “The people of Sri Lanka are suffering the hardship of a protracted socio-economic crisis that is increasingly exhausting resources and threatening food security of millions of people. With this new humanitarian funding, the EU reaffirms its support to the most vulnerable and will support the humanitarian response on the ground.” (For more information: Balazs Ujvari – Tel.: +32 229 54578; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Scaling up sustainable finance in low and middle-income countries: High-Level Expert Group kick-starts work


The High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on scaling up sustainable finance in low and middle-income countries meets in Brussels today for the first time kick-starting their reflection on the challenges and opportunities of sustainable finance in partner countries with a view to providing recommendations to the Commission on how to scale up funding from the private sector. At a time when the multiple global crises are taking a heavy toll on the global economy, overturning years of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), helping partner countries in accessing finance for their sustainable infrastructure projects is critical to a global recovery, in line with the Global Gateway strategy. Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and its economic fallout has dramatically impacted countries around the world, increasing the funding gap needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Public resources continue to play an important role, but this is not enough. As Team Europe, we are stepping up our efforts to bring in private capital towards sustainable investments. I look forward to the recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group. These will feed into the EU’s forthcoming EU sustainable finance strategy for low and middle-income countries that will underpin and boost the delivery of Global Gateway.” Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Oliver Várhelyi, added: “In these difficult times, it is crucial to scale up sustainable finance in all low- and middle-income countries, including in our immediate Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood. These countries need substantial investments more than ever, especially now, in the aftermath of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. If we want to see our partners in the Neighbourhood undertake the necessary reforms and invest in sustainable projects, more resources are needed, and we need to further mobilise the private sector. Our Economic and Investment plans designed together with our partners will undoubtedly have a key contribution in this regard.” The group’s task is to identify over the next nine months how the European Commission could, in a Team Europe approach, contribute to bringing about the needed financing from the private sector for the massive investments required to tackle the most pressing global challenges and ensure sustainable development. More information available online in the press release. (For more information: Ana Pisonero – Tel.: +32 229 54320; Jennifer Sanchez Da Silva – Tel.: +32 229 58316)


Climate Action: CO2 emissions from new cars fell in 2020 as zero- and low-emission vehicle sales tripled


Final monitoring data published yesterday by the European Environment Agency confirms that average CO2 emissions of new cars registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom in 2020 decreased by 12% compared with 2019 levels. This is by far the greatest annual decrease in emissions since CO2 standards started to apply in 2010, and coincides with the phase in of stricter EU-fleet wide CO2 emissions standards for cars as of January 1, 2020. For the period 2020-2024, the Regulation sets the EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets at 95 gCO2/km for newly registered cars and at 147g CO2/km for newly registered vans, giving a strong incentive for manufacturers to produce cleaner vehicles. The surge in the share of electric vehicle registrations was a major factor, with sales tripled from 3.5% in 2019 to 11.6% in 2020. Targeted recovery measures put in place by Member States also stimulated the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles and investments in recharging infrastructure. Despite the shrinking overall market for new cars in 2020 due to COVID-19, the total number of new electric cars increased, reaching over 1 million for the first time. The final data shows that European legislation on CO2 emissions standards continues to be an effective tool for reducing CO2 emissions from cars and vans. Most manufacturers complied with their emission targets, but today’s final data confirms that over €500 million will be collected from manufacturers found to have exceeded their emissions target in 2020. A further revision of the CO2 emissions standards to align them with the EU’s higher climate ambitions is part of the Commission’s Fit for 55 proposals presented in July 2021. You can find more here. (For more information: Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Ana Crespo Parrondo – Tel.: +32 229 81325)


New European Bauhaus: additional lighthouse demonstrator project funded focusing on coastal areas


Today, the Commission is announcing the availability of funding for a sixth project under the call for the development of ‘lighthouse demonstrators’ of the New European Bauhaus (NEB). Funding for the ‘Bauhaus of the Seas Sails’ project can total up to €5 million. With this project, cities close to water will be offered solutions to achieve climate neutrality. It will result in seven transformational demonstrators in different regions and aquatic ecosystems: in Portugal (estuary), Italy (lagoon and gulf), Sweden/Germany (strait / sea / river), and the Netherlands / Belgium (delta). The project aims at achieving a sustainable and inclusive transition, keeping the aesthetic at the centre and working closely together with the local communities. Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “This new lighthouse demonstrator project is an important news, made possible by Horizon Europe funding. This additional project under the lighthouse demonstrator will contribute to EU Missions, which are key for tackling major challenges in health, climate, and environment. This project will once more show how research and innovation can help citizens on the ground.” Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I am delighted to see another lighthouse demonstrator of the New European Bauhaus, setting an example of bringing sustainability, inclusiveness and aesthetics to local communities. Taking an approach that is sensitive to the specific needs of a place and its geographic characteristics, with strong focus on coastal cities, oceans, and seas is welcome”. This project has 18 partners, including local authorities, universities, and civil society organisations. Now that funding is available, procedures are ongoing towards the signature of a grant agreement, at which point EU funding of the project will be formally confirmed. The other five projects were announced in May 2022. For more information on the NEB, please consult this page. (For more information: Adalbert Jahnz – Tel.: + 32 229 53156; Célia Dejond – Tel.: +32 229 88199)


Single Market: 20 years of SOLVIT network at the service of EU citizens and businesses resolve cross-border problems


Today, the Commission has published a report to mark 20 years of SOLVIT, the EU’s free service to help citizens and businesses that are facing problems with the application of Single Market rules. Over the last 20 years, the network has dealt with close to 29 000 cases involving Single Market rights. 85% of cases have been solved directly. Some of the most common problems tackled by SOLVIT concern the recognition of professional qualifications, visa and residence rights or support to obtaining driving licences, pension rights and accessing healthcare across borders. SOLVIT regularly helps companies to benefit from the Single Market, for example in relation to questions concerning posting of workers, road transport, VAT reimbursement or when providing a service or marketing goods. SOLVIT was set up in 2002 as a network of national centres in all EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The network is an example of a solid partnership between Member States and the Commission. The national SOLVIT centres tackle practical problems that arise when public authorities do not apply EU rules correctly and aim to mediate and resolve them on behalf of the citizen or business. The Commission supports SOLVIT with the provision of a single IT framework, assistance with case-handling, training and expert input in some cases. When national SOLVIT centres face entrenched problems where public authorities aren’t complying with EU law, they can refer these for action to the Commission. The full report on the 20 years of the SOLVIT service is now available online. (For more information: Sonya Gospodinova – Tel.: +32 229 66953; Federica Miccoli – Tel.: +32 229 58300)


Source: Cyprus News Agency