Towards a Euro-Mediterranean Energy Community
Because of a lack of common vision, the energy interdependence that links countries on the south shore of the Mediterranean with those on the North shore is not, at present, governed by any regional strategy. The European Union is in favour of developing a European energy strategy, which is difficult to consider in a group of energy-dependent countries. Likewise, all of the countries in North Africa have established bilateral agreements with EU countries, without considering the energy policies adopted by their neighbours.
Yet a number of challenges lie ahead for countries in Europe and for South and East Mediterranean countries (SEMCs), notably that of energy transition.
European countries are committed to raising the share of energy consumption produced from renewable resources, improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions by 2020. As they are increasingly energy dependent, they are also seeking to secure their hydrocarbon supplies. In the southern Mediterranean, the policies adopted by hydrocarbon-producing countries could lead to a reduction in the share of hydrocarbons exported to Europe. Likewise, the growth in energy demand, which could triple in SEMCs by 2030, calls for a significant increase in installed electricity production capacity. Whatever the energy policies in place, according to our estimations, increasing energy production capacities in SEMCs would require investments of between 310 and 350 billion US dollars by 2030.
The new global geopolitics of oil and gas, the drive to develop renewable and carbon-free energy sources, and the prospect of developing an energy sector that generates added value and creates new jobs on both sides of the Mediterranean are all factors that call for closer cooperation between countries in the Mediterranean region and for a new regional energy partnership.
There are several economic and geopolitical incentives for such an approach:
- Geographic proximity;
- The energy challenges faced by both North and South, and their complementary assets;
- The energy transition and, in particular, the development of renewable energy resources, which gives an advantage to SEMCs;
- The determination of SEMCs to be involved in the energy transition process, and their willingness to collaborate with other countries in this respect;
- The need to move beyond straightforward trade relations in the energy sector;
- The prospect of developing regional industries and thus creating jobs;
- The more favourable disposition of the western Mediterranean, which is now driving for greater integration.
This regional energy partnership, a new model that creates growth prospects for all the countries in the Mediterranean region and encourages the development of innovative strategies, is based on a shared vision; it is in keeping with the energy transition process, fostering the development of new, job-creating industries and engaging energy companies in the region in joint projects.
Several structuring actions could be taken to accomplish a Euro-Mediterranean Energy Community:
- Associate North and South in coordinating a common energy strategy;
- Harmonise standards (regulatory and technical standards);
- Promote energy efficiency policies;
- Strengthen trans-Mediterranean grid interconnections;
- Set up Euro-Mediterranean energy industries and partnerships;
- Build partnerships between production, training and research facilities across the Mediterranean region.
Moncef Ben Abdallah, Samir Allal, Jacques Kappauf, Mourad Preure
With the collaboration of the Mediterranean Energy Observatory
Coordination: Morgan Mozas
Table of contents
- 1. The opportunity to define a common energy strategy
- 2. Mediterranean countries facing energy challenges
- 3. Energy as a lever of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
- 4. Towards an energy community
- Conclusion : Energy, a driving role in Euro-Mediterranean economic integration