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The Union for the Mediterranean supports energy cooperation through regional energy platforms covering natural gas, electricity markets, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Union for the Mediterranean

Launched in 2008, the Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration and cooperation amongst 15 countries in the region (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey; Syria’s membership is currently suspended) and the EU.

For energy, the goal is to create an integrated Mediterranean energy market, and to promote renewables and energy efficiency. It is done through regional energy platforms covering the 3 priority areas

These platforms provide a permanent forum to organise dialogues and discuss policy objectives and measures, with a view to identifying concrete actions and follow-up on their implementation. The platform activities are coordinated respectively by the Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie, the Association of Mediterranean Energy Regulators, the Association of the Mediterranean Transmission System Operators for electricity, the Mediterranean Association of National Agencies for Energy Management and the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

The ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean in charge of energy signed on 14 June 2021, a declaration underlining their commitment to reinforce cooperation on ambitious targets for energy sustainability in the Mediterranean. The declaration raises the ambition of the region to contribute to a green, just and fair energy transition and addressing untapped opportunities, in line with the climate goals.

Algeria

Algeria is the third biggest supplier of gas to the EU, and the EU is the biggest importer of Algerian gas. Europe relies on Algerian gas for its security of supply and Algeria relies on the European market for its security of demand. Moreover, Algeria has a huge but untapped potential for renewable energy and for energy efficiency gains, while the EU is leading at global level the energy transition and is strongly committed to support Algeria in these policy areas.

This relation of strong interdependence in the energy sector lead to the establishment of an EU-Algeria strategic partnership on energy. It covers cooperation on natural gas, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy market integration, and was launched in 2015. It consists of an annual meeting of the EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change and the Algerian Minister for Energy; 2 working groups on gas and renewable energy / energy efficiency, and a business forum.

The strategic partnership on energy is a permanent and structural component of the Euro-Algerian relations.

Egypt

The EU and Egypt face several common energy policy challenges, including security of supply, the need for deeper diversification, the completion of energy market reforms, improvement of energy efficiency and increased renewable energy use amongst others. In light of this, and in view of Egypt's growing role as an important regional gas and electricity producer and transit country in the Euro-Mediterranean market, the EU and Egypt have deepened their energy cooperation over the past decade.

EU-Egypt Memorandum of Understanding

On 23 April 2018 the EU and Egypt signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a strategic energy partnership, updating the previous version from 2008. The new MoU focuses on 6 areas, stemming from the EU-Egypt partnership priorities

  • further assistance to the oil and gas sector, including the need to contain fugitive methane emissions
  • electricity sector reforms
  • joint measures and projects in renewable energy
  • energy efficiency strategies, policies and measures
  • strengthening of electricity transmission and distribution networks
  • cooperation in the technological, scientific and industrial areas across the energy field, thereby fostering job creation opportunities.

Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding

As a consequence of the new geopolitical and energy market reality after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and in line with the REPowerEU Plan, the EU and Egypt will accelerate and intensify their energy partnership. Security of gas supply is a common concern. On 15 June, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, together with Minister El Molla of Egypt and Minister Elharrar of Israel, signed a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the EU, Egypt and Israel for the export of natural gas to Europe.

The three parties will work together on the stable delivery of natural gas, in a way that is consistent with long-term decarbonisation objectives and based on market-oriented pricing. Natural gas from Israel, Egypt and other sources in the Eastern Mediterranean region will be shipped to Europe via Egypt's liquefied natural gas export infrastructure.

The signing parties will also promote the reduction of methane leakage, and in particular examine new technologies to reduce venting and flaring and explore possibilities for the utilisation of captured methane throughout the entire supply chain. They will also endeavour to ensure that future investments will not cause pollution of the marine or land environment.

Memorandum of Understanding on a strategic partnership on renewable hydrogen

On 16 November 2022, the EU and Egypt signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on a strategic partnership on renewable hydrogen. It underlines how both parties view renewable hydrogen as a key contributor to reducing emissions and ensuring energy security, while representing an opportunity for industrial cooperation, sustainable economic growth and job creation. The MoU will serve as a framework to support long-term conditions for the development of the renewable hydrogen industry and trade and facilitate the EU ambition of reaching 20 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen consumption in 2030, as the EU moves away from fossil fuel imports from Russia. It will also facilitate investment in renewables potential and boost the decarbonisation process in Egypt.

Signed in the margins of the COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, this MoU is the first EU partnership dedicated entirely to green hydrogen, and is expected to contribute to the establishment of a framework for a global rules-based market for hydrogen-based solutions, including harmonised safety and environmental standards.

Morocco

The EU concluded a Green Partnership with Morocco on the occasion of Executive Vice-President Timmermans’ visit to the Kingdom of Morocco on 18-19 October 2022. This is the first such EU initiative with a partner country to advance the external dimension of the European Green Deal through action on the ground. Joint work and cooperation shall be developed across three main thematic axes: climate and energy; the environment, including marine and maritime issues, and the green economy.

The partnership will allow the EU and Morocco to strengthen early policy dialogue and coordination on energy, climate change, environmental protection and the green economy at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. It is also expected to become a model for similar partnerships on the African continent, where Morocco already leads in terms of environmental and climate ambitions.

Building on synergies between the EU’s and Morocco’s respective hydrogen strategies, the Green Partnership shall also provide the basis to build long-term partnership in the nascent renewable hydrogen sector, and support the conditions for renewable hydrogen production and trade.

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