Von der Leyen: Iberian Peninsula to be "energy hub" of Europe with H2Med
Atalayar / EFE
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stressed on Friday that the Iberian Peninsula is "called to become one of the main energy centers of Europe" and welcomed the plan to convert the H2Med underwater green hydrogen corridor in a project of "common interest" in the European Union (EU).
At a press conference in Alicante, where the IX EU-MED9 Euro-Mediterranean Summit was held, von der Leyen stressed that hydrogen is "a game changer for Europe" and assured that the Commission wants to make hydrogen a central part of the energy system in the transition to the EU's zero emissions target. "The Iberian Peninsula is set to become one of the main energy centers in Europe. And the EU will be part of this success story (...) Today the Iberian Peninsula is becoming an important European energy gateway to the world. A hydrogen corridor through the peninsula can connect to the hydrogen supply of the entire Mediterranean region.”
At the press conference, von der Leyen was accompanied by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, French Head of State Emmanuel Macron and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa. The four leaders held a meeting this Friday in Alicante, parallel to the EU-MED9, to advance the development of the H2Med green hydrogen submarine corridor, initially baptized as BarMar, a project they will present to the Commission next Thursday.
The H2Med is a hydroproduct that will transport green hydrogen between Barcelona and Marseille (southeastern France) and that the three countries agreed in October as an alternative to the long-awaited trans-Pyrenean MidCat project, which was rejected by the French government. "I warmly welcome this agreement between France, Spain and Portugal because your H2Med project is absolutely going in the right direction. It has the potential to help us build a real European hydrogen backbone. I support your imminent submission to make it a project of common interest, which would make it eligible to apply for EU financial support," added von der Leyen.
She recalled that the EU identified in 2020 the need for major hydrogen corridors to make hydrogen "flow where it is needed," but lamented that this year Russia's energy war began, with serious repercussions on our energy systems and markets, making the transition to clean energy "become not only pressing but vital." The Commission says it will also look for new partnerships with southern Mediterranean countries, a broader "Green Hydrogen Partnership", and recalled that the EU already has such an agreement with Egypt and is now negotiating another with Morocco.
The Commission's target is to produce ten million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030, and plans to import a further ten million tons, which will go to European industry.