Counter Balance expresses its solidarity with the citizens peacefully opposing the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline in Melendugno (Puglia region, Italy). We stand in solidarity with the No TAP Committee and the non-violent actions to stop the illegal construction works that took place on the ground in recent days.
Over the last years, we have been documenting the numerous harmful impacts of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline which is part of a broader chain of projects, the so-called Southern Gas Corridor.
First of all, this project is simply not needed. Gas demand in Europe is declining, and the pipeline will do little to improve Europe’s energy security. Instead, it risks becoming a white elephant, a stranded asset for which European citizens will bear the burden in the next decades.
Secondly, the construction of the pipeline is fueling repression in Azerbaijan – where the gas comes from – and Turkey – which the pipeline also crosses. It is important to note that the problems on the ground in Italy are not isolated. We also witnessed land expropriation issues, lack of proper environmental and social impact assessement and poor consultation of local populations in Greece and Albania, also transit countries.
Thirdly, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline is a project from the past. Gas imports will contribute to locking-in Europe in a carbon-intensive path, at odds with the commitments the European Union and its member states made at the COP21 in Paris. Instead of providing billions of Euros in support of a fossil fuel infrastructure with dubious usefulness, such resources should be re-directed towards investments supporting a fair, democratic and forward-looking energy transition in Europe.
The citizens’ mobilization in Italy should be a wakeup call to the national governments, European institutions and banks supporting the project: this pipeline is not the kind of project that Europe needs. Hence, the European Commission should withdraw its support to the project, and financial institutions (public or private banks) should not get involved in a deal related to any section of the Southern Gas Corridor.