Cohesion Funds worth €40bn for household, business aid

The European Commission’s energy crisis plan includes a proposal enabling EU member state governments to redirect some of their Cohesion Fund money to support households and businesses, sources have informed ahead of Thursday’s EU summit.

According to a Bloomberg report, the EU plans to propose using as much as 40 billion euros from the bloc’s budget to support people and companies struggling to cope with high prices caused by the energy crisis.

However, it is estimated that this amount would not suffice to cover the EU-27’s needs this coming winter.

According to Bloomberg, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will offer governments the ability to tap existing cohesion funds to support small- and medium-sized companies affected by the price hike of gas and electricity and to help vulnerable households pay their energy bills through national programs.

Other package proposals aimed at countering high energy prices are expected to include a supplementary gas contract in early 2023; voluntary collective gas purchases by member states for greater bargaining power; and a solidarity mechanism for emergency gas supply by fellow member states able to provide cover, at fair price levels, to member states short of sufficiency levels during the forthcoming winter.


Gas network expansion to 18 cities qualifies for EU subsidies

Greece’s natural gas network will be expanded to cover 18 provincial cities in northern and central regions following a European Commission decision reached to secure EU cohesion policy funds for the expansion plan through the Multiannual Financial Framework, running from 2014 to 2020.

The plan’s funding framework inclusion will enable subsidies of 50 percent for the project, whose total budget is estimated at over 172 million euros.

Driven by the now-certain prospect of EU subsidies for the expansion plan, gas distributor DEDA, a subsidiary of gas utility DEPA responsible for the country’s natural gas networks – except the wider Athens area – is believed to be finalizing the details of  related tenders expected to be announced in January.

According to the plan, the country’s gas network will be expanded in the East Macedonia-Thrace, Central Macedonia and central Greece regions.

The provincial cities listed in the gas network expansion plan are: Thebes, Amfissa, Lamia, Karpenisi, Livadia, Halkida, Alexandria, Giannitsa, Veria, Katerini, Kilkis, Serres, Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Drama, Kavala, Xanthi and Orestiada.