European Commissioner for Energy states that single market with Northern Africa will become reality

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy, told CNA that within the next 40 years, a single market with Northern Africa will exist, he “is sure” about it. In addition, Oettinger stated that the main obstacle for a truly effective European energy single market is the lack of key infrastructures. In this sense, he stressed the need to build electric lines through the Pyrenees and the Alps, linking Central and Southern Europe with Northern Africa.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

October 30, 2010 12:03 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, visited Barcelona for a conference on solar energy in Northern Africa. CNA asked the commissioner how European investments in Northern Africa might support local oligarchies, in detriment of democracy and Human Rights. Oettinger stressed the beneficial effects of foreign investment, especially when it comes to energy, for local economies and improving citizens’ living conditions. Besides, Oettinger stated to be “sure” that a single market between Europe and Northern Africa will become a reality within “the next 4 decades”, as we go from local markets to a single one in Europe. Oettinger pointed out the need to build energy infrastructures, as they lack a main obstacle of having a single effective market. Energy transport is essential in guaranteeing energy supply to all European citizens. Infrastructures need to be built to transport this energy from Northern Africa or Russia to Europe.

Oettinger was asked about the need to build more electricity lines through the Pyrenees, which is generating some opposition from local environmental groups and landowners. “Of course” it is needed, he affirmed. Energy will arrive to Spain or Italy from Northern Africa and will have to be transported to the centre of Europe. Therefore, infrastructures such as pipelines or very high voltage lines will have to be built through the Pyrenees and the Alps.