This paper presents the backdrop, opportunities and mission of the European CCS Laboratory Infrastructure, ECCSEL. After four years of preparatory work, involving 14 partners in 10 countries, ECCSEL is ready to start operations in 2015, as a legal entity1, recognised as a European Research Infrastructure (ERI), thus, constituting the only ERI dedicated to CCS. ECCSEL is appropriate only for high-profile research, owned exclusively by governments and intergovernmental organisations (EU, 2010,2). ECCSEL was conceived by the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), recommended for inclusion in the Work Programme of the European Commission under FP73 (2008). Significant investments are planned making the most advanced CCS laboratories available for access under the common hallmark ECCSEL.