Energy Ministers of the EU-MED 9 (Cyprus, France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia), decided on Thursday to collaborate to make the Mediterranean Region into a hub of green energy.
The Ministers of Energy held their first MED 9 Energy Ministerial Summit of the Southern Countries of the European Union in Malta which was also attended by European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.
According to an official press release, in his interventions at the Summit, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry George Papanastasiou said that as the energy crisis has shown, in the future we should avoid dependence on one or few sources of energy.
He added that given the volatility in the prices of conventional fuels, the shift to Renewable Energy Sources (RES) is now required. He said that Cyprus, which remains energy isolated, has set as a priority the interconnection of the island with the energy networks of neighboring countries such as Greece, Israel and Egypt. Papanastasiou added that in order to increase the contribution of RES to the energy of Cyprus, the country is proceeding with the upgrading of electricity transmission and distribution networks and the installation of energy storage systems.
The first Summit of Energy Ministers of EU-MED 9, concluded with a Joint Statement, which stresses the commitment of the nine Mediterranean countries, members of the EU, to continue efforts to strengthen energy security, ensure affordable energy prices and accelerate the transition to green energy, on the basis the EU's 2050 climate neutrality goal.
In their joint statement, the nine EU Ministers decided to identify an appropriate governance structure to set up a Steering Committee with the participation of the Med 9 countries, to define a work program for addressing these goals.
"This will serve as a platform to realize the full potential for the Med region in the energy transition. The committee will include high-level representatives supported by technical and scientific experts," the joint statement said.
They also decided to coordinate efforts towards the acceleration of cross-border permitting of transmission and offshore infrastructure in the region and ensure that none of the Med 9 countries are left behind from the opportunities of such green investments.
The Ministers decided to invite the EU Commission to conduct a comprehensive report to study and investigate the potential of the Mediterranean region in becoming a corridor of green energy transmission between non-EU countries and EU countries.
Furthermore, they invite the European Commission to explore options for reinforced funding for interconnections between EU and non-EU Mediterranean countries especially for countries serving to create these green energy corridors.
"We, the EU Med countries of Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain are coming together on the occasion of the First MED 9 Energy Ministerial summit of the Southern Countries of the European Union held in Malta on 18 May 2023. We are hereby confirming our commitment to ensure continuous efforts to improve energy security, energy affordability and to accelerate the transition towards renewable energy," the Joint Statement says.
It adds that "this aligns with the European Union’s (EU) collective climate neutrality target to be reached by 2050. Beyond the challenges that exist in the Mediterranean region, we are committed to working as a region to build up clean, secure and diversified energy sources across the region."