|EU proposes $4.6 bln for energy projects, including Nabucco|
|January 28, 2009|
The European Commission proposed on Wednesday some 250 million euros for the Nabucco pipeline project, as part of 3.5 billion euros ($4.6 billion) of planned energy investment after the recent Russia-Ukraine gas dispute.
Bolstering the reliability of energy supplies has soared to the top of the European Union's agenda since Russia invaded Georgia last summer, coming close to a key gas supply route.
The money would be drawn from unspent funds in the EU budget and is part of a wider 5 billion euro ($3.8 billion) package aimed at reviving Europe’s recession-hit economies, AFP reported.
The commission’s proposals call in particular for 1.03 billion euros ($1.35 billion) to be invested in infrastructure improving gas interconnections between EU states, with 700 million euros ($910 million) for inter-European electricity links.
A further 500 million euros ($650 million) would go towards offshore wind generation projects and 1.25 billion euros ($1.63 billion)to carbon capture and storage projects.
Reducing the EU's dependence on Russian gas piped through Ukraine has also become a top priority for the bloc since a standoff between Moscow and Kiev at the start of the year left many countries without supplies in the dead of winter.
"We need to learn the lessons of the recent gas crisis and invest heavily in energy," European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.
Spokesman Johannes Laitenberger said the commission hoped EU leaders would approve the proposals at a summit in March, AFP said.
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