German, Belgian leaders vow to cooperate closely on energy issues

Germany and Belgium want to deepen their cooperation on energy issues with a view to future climate neutrality, the countries’ leaders said Tuesday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday after a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo that the past 12 months have once again impressively shown "how important it is that we work closely together in Europe, especially on energy issues."

The two met at the Belgian port of Zeebrugge for the first German-Belgian energy meeting, with talks focused on how more energy can flow between the two countries in the future.

De Croo announced that Belgium wants to double its capacity to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Germany. Work on this should begin this year.

With the stop of Russian gas supplies last September, Belgium became one of the most important suppliers for Germany. Delivery capacities were fully utilized for long stretches.

According to the two government leaders, the infrastructure that is being built should also be usable for hydrogen. De Croo also announced that Berlin and Brussels plan to link their hydrogen infrastructure by 2028.

"Through increased cooperation, we will increase the production of hydrogen for our economies and ensure that raw materials and energy are available for our industries," he said.

The Belgian and German leaders stressed how closely linked their countries’ industries are. Germany wants to become climate-neutral by 2045, while the EU has set a target of 2050.

Scholz explained that expanding the power grids so people in Europe can help each other out is critical.

A large, interconnected market also makes it cheaper for consumers, he said. This applies to electricity, he said, but also to hydrogen in the future. The two politicians emphasized a joint responsibility that extends beyond both countries.

For example, they said, the liquefied natural gas pumped eastward via Belgium could be distributed in Germany and to partner countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Scholz and De Croo stressed that the expansion of European networks also increases the security of supplies.

Source: Anadolu Agency