Von der Leyen: Iberian peninsula will be Europe's "energy hub" with H2Med

The Commission's objective is to produce ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030
Von der Leyen: la península Ibérica será “centro energético” de Europa con H2Med

TWITTER/Ursula von der Leyen  -  

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stressed on Friday that the Iberian Peninsula is "destined to become one of Europe's main energy centres" and welcomed the plan to turn the H2Med underwater green hydrogen corridor into a project of "common interest" in the European Union (EU).

Speaking at a press conference in Alicante, where the 9th EU-MED9 Euro-Mediterranean Summit is being held, Von der Leyen stressed that hydrogen is "a game changer for Europe" and said the Commission wants to make hydrogen "a central part" of the energy system in the transition to the EU's zero emissions target. "The Iberian Peninsula is set to become one of Europe's main energy hubs. And the EU will be part of this success story (...) Today the Iberian Peninsula is becoming an important European energy gateway to the world. A hydrogen corridor through the peninsula can connect to the hydrogen supply of the entire Mediterranean region," he stressed.

At the press conference, Von der Leyen was accompanied by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, French Head of State Emmanuel Macron and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa. The four leaders held a meeting on Friday in Alicante, on the sidelines of EU-MED9, to advance the development of the H2Med green hydrogen submarine corridor, initially christened BarMar, a project they will present to the Commission next Thursday.

H2Med is a hydro-product that will transport green hydrogen between Barcelona and Marseille (southeast France) and which the three countries agreed in October as an alternative to the long-awaited trans-Pyrenean MidCat project, which was rejected by the French government. "I warmly welcome this agreement between France, Spain and Portugal because your H2Med project is absolutely going in the right direction. It has the potential to help us build a real European hydrogen backbone. I support its imminent submission to become a project of common interest, which would make it eligible to apply for EU financial support," he added.

He recalled that the EU identified in 2020 the need for major hydrogen corridors to make hydrogen "flow where it is needed", but regretted that this year "Russia's energy war started, with serious repercussions on our energy systems and markets", so the transition to clean energy "became not only pressing but vital". The Commission says it will also pursue new partnerships with southern Mediterranean countries, a broader "Green Hydrogen Partnership", and recalled that the EU already has such a partnership with Egypt and is now negotiating one with Morocco.

The Commission's goal is to produce ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030, and plans to import a further ten million tonnes, which will go to European industry.