Portugal, France and Spain meet on energy policy

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Portuguese, French and Spanish leaders met in Lisbon on Friday to discuss energy interconnectivity.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, French President Emmanuel Macron and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez attended the meeting “to strengthen their regional cooperation in the framework of the Energy Union”, the European Commission said in a statement.

The aim of the summit is to produce a joint policy on energy interconnection, specifically high tension cables and pipelines that allow electricity and gas to be transported between countries.

“The lack of sufficient interconnection capacity remains an obstacle for the creation of an electricity market in South-West Europe and has prevented Iberian energy companies from fully participating in the EU electricity market,” the EU statement said.

With an interconnection capacity of only 6,000 MW, Spain and with it, Portugal remains largely an energy island that does not participate fully in the European electricity market, it said.

The three countries signed an agreement to build an electricity line crossing the Bay of Biscay from northern Spain to south-west France.

The project will receive 578 million euros (674 million U.S. dollars) from the European Commission. It will be the largest investment by the European Commission on an energy infrastructure project.

With 280 kilometers of electricity interconnection, the line will double by 2025 the exchange capacity between France and Spain, and bring Spain’s energy interconnection capacity closer to the 15-percent European target from six percent now, according to the EU statement.

Earlier in the day, Costa and Macron met members of the general public for a Q&A session at the Gulbenkian Foundation.

“Europe needs to be solid in moving forward, combining pragmatism and ambition,” the Lusa Portuguese News Agency quoted Costa as saying.

“Europe needs to be more sovereign,” said Macron, but he also cited a need for accords with Russia and Turkey. “Stabilization with these two countries is essential from a geopolitical point of view.”

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