A deal for an undersea pipeline to carry gas from new offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe signed by Greece, Cyprus and Israel earlier in the year was ratified by a wide majority in a parliamentary committee on Monday evening.
Signed in Athens by the leaders of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel in January 2020, the EastMed pipeline accord passed the first stage ahead of ratification with the votes of ruling New Democracy, main opposition SYRIZA and Movement for Change (KINAL).
The Communist Party (KKE) and MeRA25 voted against, while Greek Solution said it would reserve judgment until the plenary vote on Thursday.
Following the vote, Energy and Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis described the accord as “one of the most important international energy agreements, which will change the landscape in relation to natural gas pipelines, not just for Greece but for Europe as well.”
The pipeline, he added, will also provide a “practical response” to Turkey's revisionism and provocations in the East Mediterranean.
He also did not exclude the possibility that more countries, such as Egypt, could join the project. “The pipeline's final route is open,” he said.
The 1,900-kilometer pipeline is intended to provide an alternative gas source for energy-hungry Europe, which is largely dependent on supplies from Russia and the Caucasus region.
Ankara slams EastMed declaration branding Turkish drilling ‘illegal’
A declaration signed on Monday by the foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates denouncing “ongoing Turkish illegal activities” in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) “is a case in point of the hypocrisy of a group of countries who are seeking regional chaos and instability,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hami Aksoy, said on Monday.
Aksoy’s comments, quoted by Turkey’s state-run Anadolou Agency, came in the wake of a teleconference on Monday where the foreign ministers of the five countries discussed the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, agreeing that Turkey’s efforts to tap natural gas deposits in Cyprus’ EEZ represent “a clear violation of international law.”
The Turkish foreign minister also accused the five countries of “seeing no harm in sacrificing the democratic aspirations of the peoples to the callous aggression of putchist dictators.”