June 20, 2024
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Europe: Green light for new fossil projects in Croatia and Poland

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European Commission endorsed the revised recovery and resilience plans of Poland and Croatia, including their REPowerEU chapters. The Polish and Croatian reform and investment programmes, worth EUR 59.8 billion and EUR 10 billion, respectively, include the expansion of LNG terminals and the construction of new pipelines. According to the Commission, these planet-heating projects are deemed ‘necessary’ to ensure security of supply in central and eastern Europe. For Poland and Croatia to receive funding, the Council of the European Union now has four weeks to endorse the Commission’s positive assessment of the plans.

The approved investments include a 250-kilometre fossil gas pipeline between Gdansk and Gustorzyn in Poland worth EUR 630 million, and the expansion of the LNG terminal on Krk island in Croatia as well as new pipelines connecting Croatia with Slovenia and Hungary worth a combined total of EUR 559 million. The Gdansk–Gustorzyn pipeline will connect to a future floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) terminal in Gdansk. Initially included in Poland’s REPowerEU proposal, the terminal was later removed during negotiations with the Commission, probably because the project could not meet the Commission’s deadline of being operational by the end of 2026.

Croatia will not only double the annual import capacity of the Krk terminal from EUR 2.9 to 6.1 billion cubic metres, but will also expand its national gas pipeline infrastructure to increase gas transmission to Slovenia and Hungary. This includes the expansion of the Zlobin–Bosiljevo pipeline, the Bosiljevo–Sisak–Kozarac evacuation pipeline linking Hungary, and the Lučko–Zabok section of the Croatia–Slovenia interconnector.

Due to environmental and climate concerns, both the Polish[4] and Croatian LNG terminals have met with fierce opposition from civil society organisations and local communities.

Gligor Radečić, gas campaign lead with CEE Bankwatch Network: ‘While both plans provide badly needed reforms and investments for the energy sector – including support for solar PVs, building renovations and energy communities – it’s simply unacceptable that public funds are still being used to bankroll new fossil gas projects. The companies set to directly benefit from these funds posted record profits from the energy crisis last year. These countries are now effectively being rewarded for their lack of action, with Poland actively stopping wind farm investments and Croatia solar PVs in households in recent years.’ 

Krzysztof Mrozek, EU funds expert with the Polish Green Network: ‘Thanks to the tireless efforts of Polish civil society, many of our recommendations made it into Poland’s final plan. But the biggest one of all did not: stopping investments in fossil fuels. Instead of celebrating Poland’s first fossil fuel-free instrument, we find ourselves having to oppose these projects yet again, CEE Bankwatch reports.

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