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Brussels, 27 June 2008

The Commission welcomes the agreement on the electricity link between France and Spain

Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy, has hailed today's agreement between Mr Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, and Mr Fillon, Prime Minister of France, to complete the electricity connection between France and Spain as soon as possible thanks to decisive action on the part of Mario Monti, the European Coordinator.

Commissioner Piebalgs welcomed this agreement, ‘which comes after years of being held up, thanks to the remarkable mediation and persuasion efforts of Mario Monti, to whom I wish to express my sincere thanks’. He recalled the role played by the four European coordinators ‘which clearly illustrates the added value that Europe can provide to facilitate the implementation of these projects which are essential for the sustainable growth of our economy.’ ‘This example prompts me to consider the possibility of appointing other coordinators for projects which are experiencing major difficulties’, he concluded.

Today’s agreement stems from the conclusions in the report presented by Mario Monti to Mr Zapatero and Mr Fillon in the framework of the intergovernmental conference which took place this Friday in Zaragoza.

In response to a request formulated by Mr Sarkozy and Mr Zapatero at the last summit between France and Spain, Mario Monti was able – very quickly – to identify the key issues still outstanding and come up with the right answers, after extensive consultation of the people concerned.

The report therefore recommends an exceptional solution, namely to put the cross-border part of the direct current line underground from Baixas, near Perpignan, to Santa Llogaia, near Figueras, using existing infrastructure as far as possible.

The two governments have approved these conclusions and instructed the competent authorities and the two electricity grid managers to take the necessary steps for the immediate implementation of this priority project of European interest.

In September 2007 the Commission appointed Mario Monti as European Coordinator to facilitate the implementation of this priority project of European interest which had been held up for years.

The report by the European Coordinator, Mario Monti, and the technical studies can be found on DG TREN’s website at:

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