The East Mediterranean region matters. More so, it counts as a possible energy provider. Years of discussions have taken on the lead on whether Israel and Cyprus could become a new corridor of energy from Greece to Europe. More so, it has opened the “pandora’s box” for the country to negotiate and establish exclusive economic zones, which are not yet complete. Various research has shown that it is feasible to extract and provide Europe with the necessary energy amounts. However, there is a cost. This cost is still under debate.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, almost a year now, has shown that Europe was not ready to absorb the challenge and the effects of war. More so a battle that takes place on its doorstep. Capabilities in Europe matter. And the EU failed at issues of energy autonomy and energy independence. At the same time, also power to negotiate energy terms of continuity or alternate sources that would meet the needs of the European Union. However, as one attempts to describe the current situation, one thing is sure: the EU has not decided on a single political method that would meet energy security. Solely the fear of energy scarcity during the war period has sky-rocketed prices of energy and direct economic market affairs and fees of all states within the European Union. Thus, providing grounds for great inflation rates leads to possible fear of a recession that may become a long-term one.
The current state of affairs undermines Europe’s viability. It’s progress overall.
And it is the future. Europe needs to clearly define strategies: among others, its supply sources, chains, and methods of delivery and use. The EU has to re-strategize.
To negotiate between both its member states and potentially external members. To seek alternate ways and sources of energy supply for its use at a price at the same time that would be affordable; while assuring economic continuity and progress at the EU level. That meant that Europe and the EU nations would have to work on various trade agreements to reshape strategic needs (immediate and long-term). At the same time, look at the near future with alternate sources and methods of energy providence. One that would bring “green” policies to the core of the European Union discussion.
Considering the changing geostrategic landscape, there is a new shape and formation of alliances and strategic partnerships. Alliances that are in the making. There was an urgent need to accommodate practical needs while keeping the European economy from a deep and long-term possible recession. But all is possible within 2023 as things are in flux. Security no longer provides a secure environment. And those who ensure food, water, and energy security can also ensure development, growth, and alliances.
Alliances are “Hybrid” in their nature. This is a new term that I use. Such alliances tend to change, considering the changing geostrategic variables and landscape. They are interest-based. They hold a short timeline of possible activities and outcomes.
While we know that the East Mediterranean holds the key to becoming an energy provider, they do not doubt that it is one of those regions with an excellent game of thrones. A new attempt at alliances based on timely interests that are at the same time short-to-be short. And therefore, their length will be proven considering the variety of topics and issues that will be upon us.
New regional structures are required in a new European Defense and Trade architecture. They should become part of or a pillar of a new EU-NATO constellation of the future.
At the same time, the role of the East Med is now on the rise. And while further questions are emerging for an alliance of the willing with, among others, states that wish to be partly due to their geographic proximity and interest in the region but also knowledge on how to acquire this energy in practice.
To date, East Med countries have been politically and scientifically tempted through various small discussions among members in bilateral, trilateral, or multilateral forms. But none has stated or envisioned creating a regional political organization. It takes some political will to proceed accordingly. A new alliance would be forged. A hybrid alliance considers the needs, the threats, and the length of time.
The eventuality of an alliance may potentially lead to include European (French, Italian, Maltese, Greek, Cyprus Euro-Atlantic with American and Canadian, Israel and Arab countries among them, such as Egypt and the UAE, and Jordan among others and possibly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, among others. Future members to join would have to meet standards.
This would entail a purely political, trade, and energy development organization, a corridor for discussions. This alliance would become a source provider. This new alliance could be a great historical moment, bringing incentives to resolve standing regional and geostrategic issues. It could support the energy transition from north to south corridors. This alliance would support a framework of infrastructure development based on the millennium goals. And would integrate within the framework of other partnerships collaboration, such as with the EU and NATO, for different operational reasons and scopes.
The discussion for the future of the East Mediterranean is not new.
The War in Ukraine brought by necessity, the East-Med region at the forefront of attention regarding energy security. Current security threats in the East Mediterranean have not been resolved so far. But the need for energy exports brings energy becomes a tool for negotiations for many governments. Among others, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus. It has also become a “demonizing weapon”. Countries like Turkey demand to join the discussion. Be a key “play-maker” by default in among others energy security. Considering itself to have a reason and purpose, in supposedly ensuring energy prosperity to Europe.
The idea of a connecting pipeline between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece would meet the many needed standards to equip Europe with energy resources. And while the Pipeline was considered expensive to build, there seems to be no other alternative. Unfortunately, while Syria and Lebanon are going through tremendous economic and political issues, Turkey now seems to slip away in both political affairs and reason for collaboration. Turkey threatens regional stability by attempting to exercise power over trilateral agreements. Does not recognize states nor agree to the shape of the exclusive economic zone between states such as Greece, Cyprus, and Lebanon. It is not even part of the International Law of the Seas.
The Pipeline with a capital P is the mega project of the future. It is a political opportunity. It has a significant cost. But it assures European prosperity and ensures energy security. The project itself brings value. It brings momentum for countries to be closer. Closer to Egypt and Jordan. Closer to Saudi Arabia and also the UAE. It is close to visualizing an energy corridor from the UAE to Europe and connecting through Egypt and Jordan to Israel, from Israel to Cyprus and Greece, from Greece to Italy, Albania and the West Balkans.