Gas is a “game-changing factor” in Israel’s relationship with CIDI in the European Union

Israel will transport gas to the European Union via Egypt, thereby extending its hand on the gas spout to southern Europe. This is an important achievement from a diplomatic point of view, but what does it mean for relations with the European Union, Egypt and Russia?

Plenary Hall of the European Parliament. Photo: Jos Hummelen, CIDI

In 2009 and 2010, large gas fields were discovered in the Mediterranean. The discovery of gas reserves led to the transition of energy in the Jewish state. Coal and oil were replaced, resulting in reduced local carbon dioxide emissions. The country has gone from being a mineral fuel importer to a major gas exporter, with Egypt and Jordan being the biggest buyers.

Several Israeli governments have sought to benefit from these discoveries both in Israel and abroad. Energy interdependence can advance the economic interests of nations, so that long-term peace is the obvious choice. this Deal It not only strengthens the energy relationship with Egypt, but also communicates with the European Union for the first time. The trade route to Egypt has been around for some time: here gas is made liquid and shipped around the world. Gabriel Mitchellan expert on Israeli energy policy, described the deal with the European Union a game changer

Middle Eastern. Source: Institute for Strategic Studies

The memorandum is now signed, mainly due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing Western sanctions. The European Union wants to significantly reduce Russia’s dependence on energy in a short period of time and is looking for alternatives around the world. Gas from Israel is a drop in the ocean, but nonetheless very welcome. Germany, for example, has indicated that it is interested in Israeli gas. Naftali Bennett spoke of a new chapter in relations with the European Union.

Putin against hair

Israel offers a solution to the European Union, after the union sided with Ukraine in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. By getting too close to the European Union, Israel risks giving up its relatively neutral position in the war. This relative neutrality is important to Israel because of the Russian presence in Syria, as well as at the negotiating table in Vienna on a new Iranian deal.

However, Mitchell doesn’t think Putin would be upset with such a relatively small-scale deal. The language of the note is somewhat vague, and thus it’s not a real business deal.

Pipelines and connectors

Analysts, including Gabriel Mitchell, view gas as important in the transition to sustainable energy. Gas is less polluting than coal, for example, and is relatively easy to extract and transport.

While the popular EastMed pipeline is no longer taken seriously by European and Israeli policy makers, the option of building a power grid in the Eastern Mediterranean using interconnectors is becoming more realistic. Electrical conductors are high-voltage cables that connect the electricity networks of neighboring countries. They ensure that surplus energy, such as from wind and solar farms, can be traded and shared between countries. This ensures that renewable energy is not wasted and ensures a greener and more efficient energy system. In this case, those interfaces are located under the sea. Mitchell: “During the circulation of fossil fuels it is often Zero-sum game These interconnections ensure that sustainability is becoming increasingly attractive.”

Israeli businessmen and politicians hope that gas diplomacy will be robust enough to ease tensions over Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Speaking by phone from Cairo after the agreement was signed, Energy Ministry Director-General Lior Shilat said that Israel still viewed energy as unique because it could be “a source of cooperation rather than a source of contention.”

Mitchell estimates that the chances of Israeli gas reaching Europe will increase in the coming months and years.

Would you like to read more about the energy network around the Mediterranean (EastMed)? click here.

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