Answer – Commission position on the Southern Gas Corridor – E-007932/2016
1. The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is an important infrastructure project, which contributes to the Energy Union's key objectives of energy security by diversifying routes and sources. There are several Projects of Common Interests (PCIs) which contribute to the implementation of the SGC Priority Corridor defined in the Trans-European Energy Guidelines regulation(1). The assessment undertaken by the Regional Group in the process of the PCI identification confirmed the economic viability of these projects. The Commission has not undertaken any climate assessment of the SGC. However, gaining access to gas from new sources under competitive market conditions should enable countries in South East Europe to replace some of the most polluting lignite power stations with efficient gas turbines. This should bring substantial gains in terms of greenhouse gases reduction in the region.
2. Human rights and democracy form an integral part of the EU's bilateral relations with all third countries. The human rights situation in Azerbaijan was part of discussions with President Aliyev and Foreign Minister Mammdyarov, notably during the visit of the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission to Azerbaijan earlier this year, and during the bilateral Justice, Liberty and Security and Human Rights Sub-Committee that took place on 12-13 October 2016 in Baku. Cooperation with Azerbaijan on energy issues including the SGC is a further means for engagement and in full respect of fundamental values and principles.