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EU leaders agree billions for energy overhaul

  European Union leaders approved in principle a plan to spend €5 billion ($6.75 billion) on overhauling the bloc’s energy infrastructure and other projects on Thursday after weeks of squabbling.

“The deal has been done -- the latest Czech presidency proposal was adopted,” an EU source told Reuters. “Nabucco is on the list,” the source added, referring to a plan to pipe Caspian gas to Europe via Turkey.

Two other diplomatic sources said the deal had been agreed in principle, but a few details remained to be hammered out between EU ambassadors next week. The proposal still needs the approval of the European Parliament before becoming law.

A winter gas crisis, caused by a price row between Moscow and transit country Ukraine, shook the EU, which has been more uneasy about its reliance for energy on the newly assertive Moscow since Russia invaded neighboring Georgia last August.

The plan to subsidize new power projects and hundreds of kilometers of gas pipelines and power cables was meant to enable the bloc’s member states to help each other during gas crises.

It was also aimed at tackling the economic crunch by creating new jobs for steel workers and engineers and also aimed to help the EU reach its environment goals. (Reuters)