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The EU, Israel and Egypt on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding to allow the EU to import Israeli natural gas. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Brussels has wanted to break with its dependence on Russian fossil fuels and is seeking to strengthen its partnerships with other countries, particularly in the Middle East.
The European Union, Israel and Egypt on Wednesday (June 15th) signed a memorandum of understanding to supply Europe with natural gas, during a visit to Cairo by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen .
The visit comes as the EU urgently needs to diversify its energy supplies following Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies to European countries. Before Egypt, Ursula von der Leyen went to Ukraine, then to Israel.
The European official spoke on Wednesday for the first time with President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. During a joint press conference after the meeting, she welcomed the signing of a “memorandum of understanding concerning the transport of natural gas from Israel to Egypt”, where the gas will be liquefied before being shipped to Europe.
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The European Union wants to develop its energy cooperation with the two eastern Mediterranean countries to “put an end to its dependence on Russian fossil fuels”, explained the President of the European Commission on Wednesday in Egypt.
But an increase in gas exports from the two eastern Mediterranean countries to Europe requires considerable investments, which can only be made in the long term.
A solution to the lack of gas pipeline between Israel and Europe
In the absence of a pipeline connecting Israel’s offshore gas fields to Europe, the Jewish state has been sending its natural gas to Egypt since the signing in 2020 of a historic $15 billion agreement between the two countries.
The two countries have recently strengthened their relations, particularly in the energy field and it is in this context that the Egyptian Minister of Oil Tarek al-Molla, the Israeli Minister of Energy, Karine Elharar and the European Commissioner for Energy , Kadri Simson signed the MoU on Wednesday at the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo.
“This is also an opportunity for Egypt to become a regional energy hub,” the Commission President said on Wednesday, stressing Egypt’s potential for renewable energy exports.
Ursula von der Leyen also called for the immediate establishment of a “fund of 100 million euros” to enable Egypt to ensure its food security, as well as the establishment of a fund 3 billion euros for various agricultural and food programmes.