In the coming weeks the EU Parliament and the Member States will further discuss the plans for the EU Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), and the accompanying TEN T and TEN E guidelines, that should facilitate smooth interconnections and allow the integration of the first zero emission energy carriers for transport, electricity and hydrogen, into Europe’s transport network. Vice president Siim Kallas of the European Commission has called industry to sign a petition to support the CEF, as not all Member States are convinced that this overarching facility will improve efficiency in approval processes and budgets: the Cyprus Multi Annual Financial Framework proposal on October 29, 2012  cut the European Commission’s proposed budget of €50 billion for the seven-year period to €36.3 billion (13.7 billion less), of which seven billion to be taken from either cohesion policy funds or structural funds.

On November 5, 2012 the CEF amendments were discussed in Parliament and, as mentioned in our September report, combined efforts with other alternative fuel organsiations resulted in  amendments seeking to integrate funding for innovative technologies for road transport that the EU Commission proposal failed to ensure.  In fact over the last weeks announcements of increased cross border cooperation in Scandinavia and the start of the TEN T Hydrogen Infrastructure for Transport, HIT project, that HyER facilitated in collaboration with the EHA and that will be featured at the next TEN T Days on November 27 -29, 2012 in Brussels, indicate that national and regional stakeholders are increasing their efforts to ensure sufficient interconnected refueling facilities for hydrogen in time for the roll out of larger number of vehicles in the coming years.

The EHA therefore has increased it efforts in ensuring that all our national association members are aware of  these recent developments and informing them on how they could benefit from the experiences and results in current EU projects to further pave the way for political and financial support fuel cell and hydrogen development in their countries. In October the EHA facilitated presentations at meetings of the Latvian Hydrogen Association, that offered important insights in the role of Baltic states in facilitating links with Russia and the Ukraïne, we also attended the first Hydrogen Day of the Hydrogen network of Brittany, France  and will be attending the Portugese annual hydrogen association meeting the end of November. EHA in collaboration with the Spanish Hydrogen Association is also facilitating a workshop on November 13, on the occasion of the IPHE meeting in Seville, to promote the urgent need for the integration of FC and H2 topics in national education systems. The EHA is seeking closer and more intense collaboration with the east of the EU. We were recently updated on the Czech Hydrogen and fuel cell platform activities, that has recently organised an alternative fuels day; the Romanian Hydrogen Association inquired for EHA membership with which will bring EHA coverage up to 22 European countries.