On 27th July 2018, at the Second Energy Interconnections summit, the Lisbon Declaration was signed. The declaration aims to better integrate the Iberian Peninsula into the internal energy market and to strengthen regional cooperation in the framework of the Energy Union. Signatories are the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic, António Costa, the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. The lack of sufficient interconnection capacity has always been an obstacle for the creation of an electricity market in South-West Europe. With an interconnection capacity of only 6,000 MW, Spain and Portugal has remained largely an energy island and Iberian energy companies could not fully participate in the EU electricity market.
The Lisbon Declaration builds on the Madrid Declaration from March 2015 which launched the integration process. The signatories reaffirmed the strategic role of interconnections to achieve a fully operational, secure, competitive, clean and interconnected internal energy market. Energy interconnection with the Iberian Peninsula is intended to end the energy isolation of this part of Europe, whilst improving energy security. Energy interconnections are also essential for the EU’s energy transition and the efficient fulfilment of the commitments undertaken in the Paris Agreement. The integration of the Iberian Peninsula into the internal energy market has been a priority for the Juncker’s Commission.
As regards electricity interconnections, the signatories expressed their satisfaction with the progress of the strategic Bay of Biscay Interconnector project – 280 km power line crossing the Bay of Biscay. The link will double by 2025 the exchange capacity between France and Spain and bring Spain closer to the 15% interconnection target contained in the new regulation on the governance of the Energy Union. At the occasion of the Second Energy Interconnections Summit, a grant agreement for the power line crossing the Bay of Biscay totalling €578 million was signed making the power line the largest Connecting Europe Facility investment ever awarded to an energy infrastructure project. In particular, the signatories also reiterated support for European financing of the following projects: Cantegrit-Navarra and Marsillon-Aragon, as well as the Portugal-Spain interconnection between Vila Fria-Vila do Conde-Recarei (Portugal), and Beariz- Fontefria (Spain).
As regards gas interconnections, the signatories welcomed the European Commission’s Strategy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage adopted in February 2016. LNG can significantly diversify EU’s energy supplies and thus reduce dependence and strengthen EU’s energy security. To filly benefit from LNG it is necessary to develop transport, storage and import infrastructure. Gas interconnections projects include STEP project (increasing the bidirectional flows between the Iberian Peninsula and France), Val de Saône gas pipeline (contributing to Spanish and Portuguese access to the European Gas Market).
As regards energy transition, Portugal, France and Spain recognised the social, economic and environmental advantages of a clean energy transition and agreed to work together on accelerating energy transition by considering cross-border auctions on renewable energy production and developing green bonds to finance green investments.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Today's event shows the value of European solidarity and regional unity. By agreeing on steps forward to complete the energy interconnections between France, Portugal and Spain and ways to enhance our regional cooperation, we are strengthening the security of energy supply across Europe, and delivering on our promise to make Europe number one on clean energy and renewables. The world looks to us for leadership in these turbulent times. Let's show just how much unity can achieve.”