Nat­gas finds “piv­otal” for EU and re­gion, says Com­mis­sion

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is ex­am­in­ing the im­pact of pos­si­ble Cypriot gas re­serves in the off­shore area be­tween Cyprus and Is­rael, in or­der to di­ver­sify the EU’s en­ergy mix, as well as break off the is­land’s en­ergy iso­la­tion, said Com­mis­sion spokesman Jakub Adamow­icz.

Speak­ing at the daily press brief­ing in Brus­sels, Jakub Adamow­icz was quoted by the Cyprus News Agency as say­ing that “it may be too early to eval­u­ate the size of stocks, but the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion mon­i­tors very closely the de­vel­op­ments in the gas fields of Cyprus.”

“The nat­u­ral gas dis­cov­er­ies in the East­ern Mediter­ranean can play a very im­por­tant role in help­ing both the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and the pro­duc­ing coun­tries them­selves to tackle en­ergy se­cu­rity prob­lems,” he noted. “Like­wise they have a grow­ing role in EU en­ergy di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion strat­egy, although it is too early to eval­u­ate the im­pact that would have on the Com­mu­nity gas mar­ket,” he said.

“The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion recog­nises the po­ten­tial of the east­ern Mediter­ranean in the con­text of re­cent find­ings in re­la­tion to gas and mon­i­tors with great in­ter­est the de­vel­op­ment plan for the Cyprus gas fields, as well as other sources in the area. The end­ing of en­ergy iso­la­tion and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of gas sup­plies in the EU are im­por­tant ob­jec­tives of this Juncker Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, as de­scribed in the strat­egy for the En­ergy Union. Bringing new gas in the EU, par­tic­u­larly to the vul­ner­a­ble south­east Europe, is of paramount im­por­tance,” he con­cluded.

Com­mis­sion sources told CNA that one of the key tools to sup­port en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture is the projects of com­mon in­ter­est (PCI). The PCIs will be au­tho­rised by a sim­pli­fied pro­ce­dure and will re­ceive pref­er­en­tial fi­nan­cial sup­port through the pro­gramme Con­nect­ing Europe Fa­cil­ity (CEF). The same source claimed that the east­ern Mediter­ranean pipe­line (East Med Pipe­line) has al­ready re­ceived fund­ing from the CEF amount­ing to 2 mln eu­ros in 2015. An­other PCI pro­gramme on the Com­mis­sion’s list is the EuroAsia In­ter­con­nec­tor that con­nects Cyprus with the EU through a sub-sea elec­tric­ity pipe­line from Is­rael to Crete.

In re­la­tion to Turkey and the ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone of Cyprus, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials re­fer to the con­clu­sions of De­cem­ber 2012 Euro­pean Coun­cil, call­ing on Turkey to com­mit it­self to good neigh­bourly re­la­tions and the peace­ful set­tle­ment of dis­putes, in ac­cor­dance with the UN Char­ter. The Coun­cil in De­cem­ber 2012 stressed the need to re­spect the sov­er­eign rights of Mem­ber States, in­clud­ing the right to ex­plore and ex­ploit nat­u­ral re­sources in ac­cor­dance with the ac­quis com­mu­nau­taire and the UN Con­ven­tion on mar­itime law.

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