Connecting energy markets and regions

EU projects of common interest can benefit from accelerated permitting procedures and funding.

Protecting the EU's critical energy infrastructure from disruption and damage.

Plan to better integrate Central and South Eastern European gas markets and diversify gas supplies.

Plan to better connect the three Baltic States to the rest of the EU's internal energy market.

The construction of North-South interconnections in Central and South Eastern Europe helps the EU diversify its energy sources and increase security of supply.

A new regional High Level Group for South-West Europe on interconnections has been set up.


Modern energy infrastructure is crucial for the EU to integrate its energy market and to meet its energy and climate goals. To upgrade Europe's infrastructure, the European Commission has estimated that around €200 billion is needed during the current decade for transmission grids and gas pipelines. Not all investments are commercially viable however and the market alone is likely to only provide half of the necessary investment.

Priority corridors

To help build and finance important energy infrastructure, the EU identified a number of priority corridors under its Trans-European Networks (TEN-E) strategy. These corridors require urgent infrastructure development in order to connect EU countries currently isolated from European energy markets, strengthen existing cross-border interconnections, and help integrate renewable energy.

EU priority corridors for electricity:

  • An offshore grid in the Northern Seas and transmission lines to Northern and Central Europe to transport power produced by offshore wind to consumers and energy storage centres
  • Transmission lines in South Western Europe such as between Spain and France to transport power between EU countries
  • Transmission lines in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe to strengthen the regional network
  • Integration of the Baltic electricity market – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia – with the rest of the EU

EU priority corridors for gas:

  • the Southern Corridor to deliver gas directly from the Caspian Sea to Europe
  • integration of the Baltic gas market and connecting it to Central and South East Europe
  • North-South gas pipelines in Western Europe to remove internal bottlenecks and enable the best use of possible external supplies
  • North-South gas pipelines in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe including regional connections in the Baltic Sea region, the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea, to help diversify gas sources and increase security of supply

EU priority corridor for oil:

  • improving interoperability in the oil supply connections in Central Eastern Europe to increase security of supply and reduce environmental risk

EU thematic areas that relate to the entire EU:

  • increased deployment of smart grids to help integrate renewable energy and allow consumers to better regulate their energy consumption
  • the construction of electricity highways – large grids that allow electricity to be transported over long distances across Europe (ex: from wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas to storage facilities in Scandinavia and the Alps)
  • the development of transport infrastructure for captured CO2  

Projects of common interest

Based on the priority corridors, the EU draws up a list of projects of common interest (PCIs). It updates this list every two years. The projects selected can take advantage of a number of benefits including faster permitting procedures and applying for funding from the Connecting Europe Facility – the EU's €50 billion plan for boosting energy, transport, and digital infrastructure between 2014 and 2020.

Previous TEN-E strategy

While the current TEN-E strategy was implemented in 2014, many projects from the previous TEN-E strategy (2006-2013) are still ongoing. Some are not expected to be completed until after 2020.

The total budget allocated under the previous strategy was around €20 million per year. Most of this went towards financing feasibility studies.

Projects financed through the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) programme in 1995-2013 (published 17/12/2014)

Public acceptance of infrastructure projects

The construction of new power grids and other infrastructure projects affects the environment and the daily lives of those who live nearby. Projects should therefore be implemented in a way that achieves a high level of support amongst the local population.

The Grid Infrastructure Communication Toolkit provides advice for engaging with everyone likely to be affected by an infrastructure project. It also gives successful examples of groups (citizens, power companies, government, etc.) working together to find common solutions to project concerns.

Grid Communications toolkit
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Study regarding grid infrastructure development: European strategy for raising public acceptance

Protecting critical infrastructure

In order to ensure that the critical energy infrastructure we rely on for our energy needs is protected against possible terrorist threats, criminal activity or natural disasters, the EU set up the Programme for European Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP).


Energy infrastructure priorities

Key laws

Current guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure [Regulation (EU) 347/2013]

Previous guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (Decision 1364/2006/EC)

Identification of European Critical Infrastructures Directive (2008/114/EC)

Regulation establishing the Connecting Europe Facility [Regulation (EU) 1316/2013]

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