NEWS

Greece, Egypt key to EU energy security

PM makes case for the transfer of natural gas from East Mediterranean countries to Europe

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Highlighting the Eastern Mediterranean’s significance for Europe’s energy security, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed on Wednesday that natural gas from Cyprus, Israel and Egypt must be exported to Europe via Greece. 

His remarks on the second day of the 1st Athens ESG & Climate Crisis Summit held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center came just a day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made a very clear statement about the export of natural gas from his country and Cyprus to Europe, through Greece. 

It was seen as no coincidence that al-Sisi made his statement right after the Tripartite Summit between Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, as well as the agreement for the electricity interconnection signed by Athens and Cairo through the laying of a cable.

Tellingly, within the framework of his discussion at the conference on Wednesday with development economist Jeffrey Sachs, Mitsotakis further advanced the relevant plan, noting that the Eastern Mediterranean is not only important to the EU because the sovereign rights of two of its member-states are being violated by Turkey, but because the region – “and I mean Cyprus, Israel and Egypt – should be a new source of gas for the EU.”

Mitsotakis also noted the important work being done at the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), which, he said, is moving in the direction of an alternative source of relatively cheap gas. 

The prime minister also referred to the vast areas of unutilized land in Egypt that could be used for the production of solar energy and its export to Europe, while noting that the North African country’s electricity grid should be connected to Europe’s.

Moreover, hinting at Turkey and its objection to moves in the region by Greece and Egypt, he said that Athens and Cairo do not need to ask anyone, as they have already signed legal agreements for the demarcation of the zones between them.

Meanwhile, in what was seen as another manifestation of Ankara’s annoyance at the deals signed by Greece in the region, a pair of Turkish Air Force F-16s passed over the southeastern Aegean islands of Farmakonisi and Leipsoi on Wednesday after entering the Athens Flight Information Region one minute apart at 2.13 p.m. and 2.14 p.m.

The two jets then split up, with the first flying over the islet of Oinousses at 27,000 feet and the second at 29,000 feet.