Gas Discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean: Implications for the European Union
New Eastern Mediterranean natural gas discoveries are taking place in a period when global demand for natural gas supplies is increasing. For the next 10-20 years, Europe will require substantial growth in both oil and gas imports. The EU needs to be involved in Eastern Mediterranean gas issues for several reasons: Eastern Mediterranean gas can strengthen the energy security of Cyprus (an EU member state), Israel, and the Palestinian Authority (both of which the EU has close links with), and because it could strengthen the EU’s own energy security; the development of these resources should take place in a sustainable way, as part of balanced overall energy strategies; the EU has a strong interest in stability in this region, which directly adjoins its territory; Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, shares this interest in regional stability, especially given current developments in Syria; and the safety and security of energy installations is important for all Mediterranean countries.
This article is adapted from a speech given at a GMF-European Commission (BEPA) symposium in October 2012.