ATHENS – In a rush to get away from the European Union’s dependency on energy from Russia – which has been used to pressure the bloc over the invasion of Ukaine, Greece, Cyprus and Israel are collaborating on alternatives.
Those include the the Euro-Asia interconnector, expected to be finished by the end of 2024 and the stalled EastMed project, a 1900-kilometer (118-mile) project to connect energy to Greece via Cyprus and Crete.
The United States, squeezed by Turkey – which is also hunting for oil and gas in the East Mediterranean, off Cyprus and planning to do the same off Greek islands including Crete – has backed off support for EastMed.
But Reuters said that Greece, Cyprus and Israel still think that’s viable with Cypriot officials hoping it’s ironically gotten a lifeline over Russian’s invasion of Ukraine which saw the EU still buying energy from Russia but wanting out.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who met his Greek and Cypriot counterparts in Athens, said the three allies want to boost their energy ties and bring in more countries, the news agency report also said.
The EU wants to cut its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and end all Russian fossil fuel imports by 2027 over the invasion but for now still relies on Russia for up to 40 percent of supplies.
“We are proceeding with projects such as the Euroasia Interconnector and the EastMed pipeline …. and we are confident that when materialized they will have another practical and geostrategic value for the Eastern Mediterranean and the European Union,” said Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.