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Cyprus stresses importance of interconnectivity at EU Energy Council

file photo: high voltage power lines and electricity pylons near berlin

The rise in energy prices, the revision of the trans-European networks for energy (TEN-E) regulation (which particularly interests Cyprus), and the progress made towards the adoption of the “Fit for 55 package” of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were some of the issues on the agenda of the Energy Council of the EU which took place on Thursday in Brussels, according to a press release issued on Friday.

Cyprus was represented by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Marios Panagides.

According to a Council press release, the EU’s energy ministers and representatives held an exchange of views on the impact of high energy prices since this summer and shared their experience on actions taken in the recent months and their experience with implementing the measures proposed in the Commission`s toolbox. Discussions focused on the impact of measures on keeping energy prices in check and protecting consumers.

The European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) presented to ministers the highlights of its preliminary report on Europe’s high energy prices and the current wholesale electricity market design. The final report is expected to be published in April.

During his intervention, Panagides informed the Council on the temporary and long-term measures taken by Cyprus, mainly to protect vulnerable households. Commenting on ACER’s preliminary report, he highlighted references on the importance of interconnectivity, and underlined the important role that natural gas and other energy storage solutions can play during the transition to clean energy.

Ministers also held a policy debate on the “Fit for 55” package, particularly on the review of the two directives dealing with renewable energy and energy efficiency. Ministers welcomed the progress achieved on the files and took stock of main outstanding issues.

Ministers also discussed the balance between the need to support the potential of renewables as a cost-efficient source of energy and to recognise national circumstances and different starting points.

In his intervention, Panagides stressed the need to maintain flexibility in the application of measures and to adapt them to national circumstances, and drew attention to the issues of heating and cooling and the island’s climate.

The Commission also informed ministers on developments in the field of external energy relations and presented a report on the state of the Energy Union.

The Slovenian Presidency of the Council briefed ministers on the progress made with the European Parliament in negotiations on the revision of the trans-European networks for energy (TEN-E) regulation.

Panagides noted the need that Cyprus and Malta continue to be named in the regulation, in order to ensure their interconnection with trans-European energy networks and maintain access to future markets, such as that of hydrogen, through the of inclusion of joint interest projects in the EU’s list.

Lithuania shared information on the importance of ensuring nuclear safety at the Belarusian Ostrovets nuclear power plant in accordance with recognised EU safety levels.

Panagides recalled Cyprus’s concerns regarding Turkey’s plans to build a nuclear reactor on its southern coast and asked for the EU’s support so that Turkey fulfils its obligation for cross border cooperation and consultations with Cyprus.

On the margins of the Council, the permanent secretary also had a meeting with deputy general director for Energy of the European Commission Mechthild Wörsdörfer.

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