Potential for regional cooperation in hydrogen transport

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Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said there is potential for the Eastern Mediterranean region to contribute to the diversification of the EU’s energy sources during its transition from natural gas to new renewables and hydrogen.

In Brussels, Member States agreed on the Council’s general approach to the package of proposals on natural gas and hydrogen to facilitate the penetration of renewable and low-carbon gases into the energy mix and enable the shift away from natural gas to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Papanastasiou said Cyprus agrees with the proposals included in the package, calling it a very important piece of legislation expected to help Member States meet the targets set at the EU level for climate neutrality.

He said the package provides the opportunity to promote hydrogen interconnections between Member States and third countries by creating regional partnerships.

The energy minister referred to the potential of the Eastern Mediterranean in contributing to the diversification of energy corridors and sources and, by extension, the EU’s energy security.

He noted that the package considers the specificities of Cyprus as an energy-isolated and emerging market.

An important objective, he stressed, should be to reduce and stabilise electricity prices to benefit consumers.

EU states also reached a political agreement to extend a Council regulation on a voluntary reduction of natural gas demand by 15% ahead of winter. The target will be maintained until March 2024.

Papanastasiou thanked the Swedish Presidency for recognising the specificities of the Member States when implementing gas demand reduction measures. Cyprus does not use natural gas.

He welcomed Greece’s proposal on the need for an EU electricity grid capable of sustaining and accelerating the green transition.

Papanastasiou said interconnections with third countries are a tool for transferring energy from renewable energy sources, such as those from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Balkans.