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AI, Green Deal, Power, Airports and more - The ENCO newsletter

Every month, our newsletter features the latest publications and other activities of the ENCO network and of the civil society and media organisations that participate in its activities.

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Latest research from around the network

How European startups teamed up with Big Tech to gut the AI Act. The European Parliament approved the Artificial Intelligence Act on 13 March 2024. New research by LobbyControl, Observatoire des multinationales and Corporate Europe Observatory reveals how European startups Mistral AI and Aleph Alpha, together with Big Tech, successfully captured the policy-making process, and undermined the AI Act. Read their stories in English, German and French.

Beyond profit: How to reshape the European Green Deal for people’s wellbeing. The new report by the Citizens’ Observatory for Green Deal Financing analyses key EU funding mechanisms, exposing significant shortcomings in strategic priorities and implementation. It underlines the need to prioritise sufficient public investment, democratic planning and a broader focus on just transition strategies over short-term corporate profit. The report is available on CounterBalance’s website.

Energy, Power and Transition. State of Power 2024. The fossil fuel based energy system has shaped capitalism and our geopolitical order. The Transnational Institute’s 12th State of Power report unveils the corporate and financial actors that underpin this order, the dangers of an unjust energy transition, lessons for movements of resistance, and the possibilities for transformative change.

Walloon airports: how to land? The issues and resistance surrounding the development of Walloon airports are at the heart of the latest issue of Gresea Echos (in French).

From the ENCO Archives: Who Owns All The Pipelines?

Why is the EU still building new and unnecessary gas pipelines and LNG terminals? Who’s pushing them and who’s profiting from them? The companies behind Europe’s gas transport network are rarely household names, yet their lobbyists sit at the heart of our political system.

They make their money building and operating pipelines and other gas infrastructure projects, and are desperate to keep us hooked on fossil gas, despite the climate science and widespread local opposition. In 2019, we took a look at four of Europe’s biggest: Enagás (Spain), Fluxys (Belgium), GRTgaz (France), Snam (Italy) and tried and answer some key questions: How much infrastructure do they own and who are their subsidiaries? Who are their CEOs and who’s on their board? How much profit do they make and who are the shareholders filling their pockets? What is their lobbying power and who do they pay to do it?

These are important questions as together these little-known gas “transmission system operators” (TSOs) own enough kilometres of pipeline to stretch around the world two and a half times, with plans for more, including controversial projects like the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). They are going to be key players in deciding if and how we tackle the climate emergency, as well as who pays for it. They’re not to be ignored.

The two-sided map, available as a PDF and in print-version in English, Italian, Spanish, Flemish and French, visualises not only their pipelines and terminals, but also answers many of these questions graphically. It also includes four company profiles and four case studies of some of their controversial projects.

The accompanying article goes beyond the company profiles and case studies, providing extra information and analysis not available on the map, digging further into who owns the four TSOs, the consequence of having financial investment funds as investors (what does it mean for leaving fossil fuels in the ground and the just transition?), as well as more information on their lobbying activities.