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Politics

Mitsotakis: Greece and Italy Both Support Purchase of Natural Gas on an EU Level

October 20, 2021

ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday repeated a proposal for the purchase of natural gas by the European Union on behalf of all member-states, noting that this was also supported by Italy, while highlighting the ‘green energy’ benefits of the agreement signed with Egypt for a power interconnector between the two countries.

Speaking during a discussion with renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs at the “1st Athens ESG & Climate Crisis Summit” organised by the newspaper “Kathimerini”, Mitsotakis underlined the significance of the Greece-Egypt agreement, which will transfer cheap “green” energy from Egypt to the EU, especially at a time when the energy crisis is increasingly worrying EU governments and EU citizens.

The cheap energy Egypt can produce must find its way into the European grid, the prime minister said, while emphasising that the agreement with Egypt designating the two countries’ exclusive economic zones at sea was “of major geopolitical importance”.

The premier reiterated that since September 2019, the Greek government has been at the forefront on an EU level in setting bold targets for the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and expressed his determination that Greece will meet these commitments despite the intervening energy crisis.

He pointed out that the Greek government has taken substantial measures to absorb the price hikes in gas and electricity, while it has once again put forward its proposal, also supported by Italy, for the purchase of natural gas by the European Union as a collective entity, modelled along the lines of the EU purchase of vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

Finally, Mitsotakis revealed during his discussion with Sachs that, in a letter to European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, he had underlined that the targets of the Commission’s “Fit for 55” initiative for the reduction of carbon emissions were not realistic for the shipping sector. Taking into account that Greek shipping accounts for 58 percent of EU shipping as a whole, Mitsotakis proposed the foundation in Greece of a European research centre on alternative fuels and technologies for shipping.

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