NEWS

Athens and Cairo sign electricity pact

Deal secures Greek rights, European energy security and Egypt’s role as regional power hub 

athens-and-cairo-sign-electricity-pact

The signing on Thursday of the agreement for the electrical interconnection of Greece and Egypt is seen further safeguarding Greek sovereign rights but also the energy security of Europe.

The agreement will also explicitly mention the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) delimitation agreement signed by Athens and Cairo, while also strengthening Egypt’s role as an energy hub in the region.

The foundations for the agreement were laid last June by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo.

The two men will also meet on Tuesday within the context of the tripartite summit of Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, in a further reflection of the fast-growing strategic relationship between the two countries.

The deal, to be signed by Greek Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas and Egyptian Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker, is the first interconnection between Europe and Africa in the Southeastern Mediterranean region. 

The project seeks to improve the region’s security of supply, increase cross-border energy exchange and allow for the further development of renewable energy sources.

Significantly it will include a clear reference regarding the respect of the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the two countries, which is directly linked to the EEZs and their maritime zones, defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rule of Law of the Sea in 1982. 

The construction of the new Greece-Egypt electricity interconnection is clearly based on the existing EEZ delimitation agreement signed in the summer of 2020 and is Athens and Cairo’s most powerful weapon of international legitimacy against the arbitrariness that Ankara is seeking to to impose via the Turkish-Libyan memorandum it signed in 2019.

The agreement will also undoubtedly contribute to Europe’s energy security, something that was clearly foreseen by the EU when as early as April 2018 it had decided to promote the “strategic partnership” with Egypt. 

The European Commission confirmed this orientation in April this year, which also led to the idea of ​​including the interconnector in the EU’s Projects of Common Interest (PCI), with the aim of faster licensing and financing of the project.

On a broader strategic level, Egypt is becoming a country with surplus energy, which it wants to export to European markets.