Heads of state from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain convene today in Malta for the sixth South EU Summit.
The group, informally known as the Med7, is expected to focus on energy security at today’s conference.
In January, six European and Middle Eastern leaders committed to creating an Eastern Mediterranean regional gas market. The biggest step, however, is the proposed EastMed pipeline, which would bring Levantine gas deposits to European markets via Cyprus, Greece and Italy. The potential 1,900-kilometre pipeline could satisfy 10% of Europe’s energy demand, diminishing the continent’s dependence on Russian energy.
While the EastMed pipeline is still in the planning stages, it could be a geopolitical boon for the EU. Without reliance on Russian energy, a more united front on Ukraine could be established, and Moscow would have less leverage in negotiations with Brussels.
Regardless, hurdles remain. Northern European countries are pushing forward with the lucrative, Russian-sponsored NordStream 2 pipeline. While Southern European leaders could today agree on the need for an EastMed pipeline free from Russian influence, expect less harmony when all EU leaders meet on June 20, given Southern European complaints against the economically beneficial, but Russian-owned, NordStream project.
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Josh analyses the economic impacts of geopolitical developments in emerging economies. He contributes regularly to The Daily Brief.