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During a meeting with Diederik Samsom, Head of Cabinet of the Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, the Association representatives reaffirmed the strategic role of gas grids as a driver for energy transition, as well as the importance of technological innovation in monitoring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions Brussels, 2 February 2021 – At their Annual General Assembly earlier today, GD4S, the Association comprising seven major operators in the gas distribution sector in Europe, confirmed Paolo Gallo (Italgas) for a second year as President of the Association. "I am honoured to continue my journey at the helm of GD4S – comments Paolo Gallo - and I would like to thank the other members for their confidence in me. In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, GD4S had a very full agenda last year. During 2020, the Association was further strengthened, becoming the main representative of natural gas distributors in Europe. In the months ahead, GD4S will continue to promote the development and integration of renewable gases, such as hydrogen and biomethane, which are crucial to the energy transition. Thanks to their extensive reach in Europe, our networks are strategic and essential for the decarbonisation of the economy, especially in sectors like energy transport and storage. The Association also confirms its commitment to the control and mitigation of methane emissions through technological innovation and the digitalisation of the networks, key factors for improving the monitoring, measurement and mitigation of emissions". In advance of the Assembly, representatives of the Association met with Diederik Samsom, Head of Cabinet of the Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. During the meeting, Paolo Gallo, Dan Pantilie, CEO of Distrigaz Sud Retele (Romania), Denis O'Sullivan, Managing Director of Gas Networks Ireland (Ireland), Narciso De Carreras, CEO of Nedgia (Spain), Catherine Leboul-Proust, Strategy Chief Officer of GRDF (France), Gabriel Sousa, CEO of Galp Gás Natural Distribuição (Portugal) and Leonidas Bakouras, General Manager of Eda Thess (Greece) highlighted the Association's position on the strategic role of gas grids in the process of energy transition and decarbonisation of the EU, and confirmed the distribution operators’ commitment to mitigate methane emissions. Diederik Samsom highlighted the importance of integrating energy sources and agreed on the long-term strategic role of gas networks in the process of European decarbonization. Gas infrastructures will be used to receive and distribute renewable gases such as hydrogen, biomethane and synthetic methane, even in 2050 when the energy transition is complete. At the same time, Samson reminded DSOs that controlling emissions and saving energy are key elements in supporting an effective path to sustainability. GD4S is planning a number of important initiatives for 2021, including the development of a ‘Sustainability Charter’, to define the Association's commitment to sustainability, and the publication of a White Paper, reporting GD4S’ positions on all relevant policy issues. The ‘Sustainability Charter’, will outline a roadmap with specific milestones for the fulfilment of GD4S members’ long-term sustainability goals, in line with what has been established by the EU for the achievement of a carbon neutral economy. The White Paper, due for imminent publication, provides a comprehensive overview of how gas grids can be strategically used to achieve EU and national decarbonisation commitments. Highlighing specific case studies to illustrate the actions taken by operators, it clearly demonstrates GD4S’ commitment to the European Green Deal. In the context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Association highlighted the importance of establishing common guidelines for network operators to measure methane emissions occurring on their infrastructure.