First Belgian-German Energy Summit in Zeebrugge
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have met in Zeebrugge today for a Belgian-German energy summit. This is the first bilateral energy summit between Belgium and Germany.
In addition to the heads of government of both countries, Belgian Energy Minister Van der Straeten and the German State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate also took part in the consultations, as did various stakeholders from the energy sector. Together, they determined the energy cooperation priorities for the coming years. Belgium and Germany have been working together in the area of energy for a long time. The war in Ukraine, the importance of security of supply and the demand for energy transition has accelerated cooperation in the last year.
What was been decided?
By 2028, Belgium and Germany aim to connect their hydrogen infrastructure. Both countries already have an ambitious hydrogen strategy today, which is monitored on both sides by a Federal Hydrogen Council that brings together the central economic and regulatory stakeholders.
By linking their respective hydrogen infrastructure by 2028 at the latest, Belgium and Germany ensure the lasting integration of their industrial clusters.
- Gas throughput to Germany is doubled
The port of Zeebrugge plays a crucial role for Germany's gas supply. After Norway, Belgium is the second largest (transit) partner for Germany.
Belgium anticipates doubling transit capacity to Germany in the near future and the necessary works for facilitating this capacity increase will start this year. This close LNG cooperation also lays provides a foundation to further sharpen our cooperation on hydrogen - which could use the same infrastructure in the future.
- Renewable energy
Belgium will also cooperate with Germany on renewable energy.
This bilateral and regional cooperation largely passes through the North Sea. In addition to cooperation with our North Sea partners, our bilateral cooperation focuses on the development of hybrid and cross-border offshore projects. Projects in the Baltic Sea are also on the table.
The ambitious expansion of renewables is a key pillar of European sovereignty and the long-term strengthening of our economies. The Esbjerg Declaration laid the foundations of an ambitious energy commitment.
Since 2020, the Belgian and German electricity grids have been directly connected to each other via the Alegro interconnector. To guarantee the growing electrification and cooperation in the North Sea in the future, the construction of a second interconnector is being examined.
Belgium and Germany will also jointly develop new flexible applications to organise the electricity market in a smarter way and optimise the use of electricity.
The two countries will also work together to further the introduction of a market linking mechanism between continental Europe, the UK and Ireland. Linking the markets is an essential mechanism to facilitate the development and integration of offshore energy in the North Sea.
Stepping up cooperation
Given developments in the energy sector worldwide, structural cooperation between Belgium and Germany is of the utmost importance. Energy cooperation will be supported by a high-level energy contact group.
The heads of government and ministers will meet on a regular basis and, where necessary, take new initiatives to maximise the energy independence of Belgium and Germany.