On 28 January 2009, the European Commission outlined a proposal to invest EUR 5 billion of unspent funds from the EU budget on key infrastructure projects. The proposal is in line with the EU recovery plan, which was endorsed by the European Council in December 2008.
EUR 3.5 billion of this investment will be allocated to the energy sector, with the remaining EUR 1.5 billion to be invested in Europe’s high-speed internet infrastructure and the Common Agricultural Policy. According to the proposal, the investment in the energy sector will be split between gas and electricity interconnection projects (EUR 1,750 million), carbon capture and storage programmes (EUR 1,250 million) and offshore wind projects (EUR 500 million). Each investment is designed to stimulate the European economy whilst reflecting the European Union’s strategic energy needs.
The proposal will now be submitted to Member States for approval. It is expected that the proposal will be discussed at the next General Affairs Council, due to take place on 23 and 24 February 2009