European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly announced on Thursday she has opened an investigation into the European Commission’s so-called list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs), as the EC gave last week its formal backing on 32 major gas infrastructure projects.
The inquiry was opened following a complaint by Food & Water Europe, which claimed that gas projects are not sufficiently assessed before being included on the list.
In a letter sent on 10 February to European Commission’s chief Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Ombudsman asked on the ways EU’s executive body ensures that sustainability and climate change impact of fossil fuel projects are assessed before including them on the list of priority energy projects.
O’Reilly said in her letter that “this risks undermining public trust in the EU’s ability to establish the PCI-list in a manner that is in line with the EU’s energy policy and climate objectives.”
Environmentalists and NGOs have been warning that the EU should not be investing in fossil fuel projects, calling EU’s energy policy as “climate hypocrisy,” as for the Green Deal to work, a fossil-fuel free EU is needed.
The EC has until 31 March 2020 to reply to O’Reilly’s letter.