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The Council and the European Parliament have paved the way for the adoption of the regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure.
The Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council today endorsed the agreement reached with the European Parliament on 27 November 2012. The text was negotiated in trialogue meetings between the Council - represented by the Cyprus presidency - the European Parliament and the European Commission. To enter into force it still needs formal approval in the Parliament (early 2013) and in the Council (after the plenary vote in the Parliament).
The new regulatory framework will help to modernise and expand Europe's energy infrastructure in order to allow the EU to meet its core energy policy objectives of competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply. This regulation is one of the priorities set under the Single Market Act I, which contains measures to boost the European economy and create jobs. Furthermore, the construction of these infrastructures is of critical importance for the goal set by the February 2011 European Council that no member state should remain isolated from the European gas and electricity networks after 2015, and will contribute to reaching the ambitious EU climate and energy targets for 2020.
The regulation gives priority to twelve strategic trans-European energy corridors and areas. It provides for the identification of projects of common interest necessary to implement them. It lays down provisions for new, more transparent and accelerated permit-granting procedures which will generally not exceed 3 years and 6 months. In addition, the regulation provides rules for possible cross-border allocation of construction costs of infrastructure projects of common interest and determines the conditions for eligibility of these projects for Union financial assistance.
The Commission will adopt the first Union-wide list of projects of common interest on the basis of the regional lists by 31 July 2013. Subsequently, the Union list will be drawn up every two years.
Six months after the adoption of the first Union list the Commission will establish an infrastructure transparency platform for the general public - accessible also via the internet - containing information on projects of common interest.
No later than 2017, the Commission will publish a report on the implementation of projects of common interest.
The regulation also contains provisions on regulatory treatment and financing. It will enter into force on the twentieth day after the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.
EU funding for this regulation is to be negotiated in the context of the "Connecting Europe Facility" financing instrument relating to the next multiannual financial framework (2014‑2020). The Commission presented this proposal in June 2011 (16176/11) with the aim of promoting the completion of priority energy, transport and digital infrastructures with a single fund of EUR 40 billion; the Commission has proposed that EUR 9,1 billion be allocated to energy infrastructure.