|Agreement signed for new digital data highway between Europe and Latin America
A group of 11 European and Latin American research and education networks forming the BELLA (Building Europe Link to Latin America) consortium, which is partially funded by the European Commission, have signed a contract to build Ellalink, an underwater fibre optic cable in the Atlantic Ocean connecting Europe and Latin America. The cable will be operational in 2020 and will provide reliable high capacityconnectivity to boost scientific and cultural exchanges as well as business. It is additionally a step forward in the creation of an EU–Latin America common research area. Construction of the cable will start as soon as the contract enters into force in the coming months. The Commission is investing around €26.5 million in the project, with funding from Horizon 2020, the Copernicus programme and the regional Development Cooperation Instrument. More details are available here.
Poland: better energy security thanks to the Cohesion Policy
EUR 145.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is invested in the construction of the pipeline “Pogórska Wola-Tworzeń”, a 168 km pipeline for the transport of natural gas, crossing the Polish regions of Małopolskie, Świętokrzyskie and Śląskie (Lesser Poland, Holy Cross and Silesia) in the south of the country. This gas pipeline is part of the North-South corridor, a so-called “common interest” project included in the 10-year development plan for 2017 established by the European network of gas transmission system operators (REGRT for gas). Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu commented: “This pipeline supported by European funds is a new stone in the building of the European energy market and the diversification of energy sources in the Union. It will help provide Poland with more affordable, safe and sustainable energy. “The North-South Corridor is composed of 10 different projects, of which 6 are currently co-financed by the EU. The total EU contribution to these 6 projects in the 2014-2020 budget period is € 275 million. The pipeline “Pogórska Wola-Tworzeń” is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
EU at the forefront of fighting Ebola in the DRC
“The EU continues to closely monitor the new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we are providing all our support to help contain the virus, our humanitarian experts are on site in the affected areas, and working hard and in concert with other emergency responders We cannot and we will not be complacent with Ebola, we do not give up, and we will continue to support as long as necessary, “said the EU’s aid commissioner humanitarian and crisis management Christos Stylianides. During the weekend, the Commissioner met with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. They assessed the situation on the spot and Commissioner Stylianides reiterated the EU’s unwavering support for the joint fight against Ebola. Both agreed to stay in constant contact. When the Ebola outbreak was declared in North Kivu province by the Congolese Ministry of Health on August 1, 2018, the European Commission immediately mobilized emergency aid. In addition to sending humanitarian experts from the Commission to the country, ECHO Flight Humanitarian Air Services has so far conducted eight flights carrying personnel, medical equipment and equipment to the city of Beni in the affected area by Ebola.
State aid: Commission clears inclusion of new combined heat and power plant in Polish scheme to support high-efficiency co-generation
The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Poland’s plans to include a 600 megawatt gas-fired combined heat and power plant located in Płock in its existing scheme to support high-efficiency co-generation of heat and electricity. Cogeneration increases energy efficiency by recycling the heat from power generation for other uses, to the overall benefit of the environment. The Polish scheme was approved by the Commission in September 2016. Under the scheme, combined heat and power plants are granted certificates for each megawatt-hour of electricity they generate in combined heat and power mode. These certificates have a value because all suppliers in the Polish market are required to purchase a certain quantity of certificates or pay a penalty. The Commission found that the addition of the Płock plant to the scheme will contribute to the EU’s energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Internal Market, in line with the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. Poland had to notify to the Commission the addition of the plant to the national scheme because the plant exceeds the 300 megawatt individual notification threshold set out in the Guidelines. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.50305.