A well-connected energy market is vital for creating an Energy Union that will ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy for all EU citizens and businesses. Therefore, building missing cross-border links between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the EU energy market is a priority for the European Commission, which has recently set up a new high level group to drive forward key energy infrastructure projects in South-West Europe.
The Memorandum of Understanding for the South-West Regional group creating the high level group was agreed in Luxembourg. This group will prepare a plan to implement the so-called Madrid Declaration, signed on 4 March 2015 by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of France François Hollande, the Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy and the Prime Minister of Portugal, Pedro Passos Coelho.
Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said: "Energy must flow freely across Europe. This will bring benefits to the European Union as a whole, in particular to European consumers. It will strengthen our industry's competitiveness and bring about jobs - while protecting the environment by a better use of renewable energy. The setting up of the High Level Group, following on the historical Madrid Interconnections Summit on 4 March 2015, is an important step in this direction as its work will be essential to achieve the integration of the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the EU energy market."
The high level group will deal with both gas and electricity infrastructure and it will ensure regular monitoring whilst also providing technical assistance to the Member States. In support of this group’s work, the Commission has launched two studies exploring the benefits, costs and the technical possibilities for further electricity and gas interconnections between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. The results of the electricity study will be presented this autumn and the results of the gas study will be available in December 2015.