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How the European Commission ensures that the sustainability and climate impact of proposed energy ‘projects of common interest’ are assessed

The complaint concerned how the European Commission ensures that the sustainability of candidate gas projects is assessed before their inclusion on the list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs), cross-border energy infrastructure projects.

In the context of the inquiry, the Commission acknowledged that the previous sustainability assessment of candidate gas projects was not satisfactory. However, it said that this was in the process of being updated, to ensure a more comprehensive assessment of the climate impact.

Given the EU’s objectives concerning climate change and sustainability, it is regrettable that gas projects were included on previous PCI lists, without their sustainability being properly assessed. However, as the Commission is working on improving the methodology and data collection for assessing the sustainability of candidate gas PCIs, the Ombudsman concluded that no further inquiries are justified at this point. She therefore closed the inquiry, urging the Commission to ensure this update is in place before the candidate projects for the next PCI list are assessed.