Skip to content

Von der Leyen promotes Israeli gas export to the EU on visit to the region

The President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyentoday announced a pact to export Israeli gas to Europe via Egypt, as a way to reduce energy dependence on Russiaand also assured that EU funds for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will soon be unlocked.

On his second day of visiting the region, von der Leyen had a busy schedule and met with top Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

MIRA: A child and three adults die in a shooting in an apartment in Florida

This is his first stay in the place since he took office, and in it he showed harmony with Israel and highlighted its importance as an EU partner, after ties cooled during the years of government of the previous Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

In turn, he advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although this issue was rather secondary and he did not mention or explicitly criticize the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in any of his meetings.

A central theme of the passage of the president of the EC through Israel was the promotion of energy ties between the Jewish State and the EU, something that she addressed with the head of Israeli Energy, Karine Elharrar, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Naftali Benet, with whom he met late in the afternoon for a meeting and dinner.

In a joint press conference with Benet, Von der Leyen announced that Israel, Egypt and the EU will sign tomorrow, Wednesday, a memorandum of understanding for the export of Israeli gas to Europe through Egypt, in another step to reduce energy dependence. European with Russia.

This initial agreement will materialize tomorrow in Cairo, as part of the meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), a spokesman for the EU delegation in Israel confirmed to Efe.

Israel has become an exporter of gas these years through reserves that it houses in its territorial waters of the Mediterranean, which is now of interest to the EU due to its disputes with Russia.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine “has created serious consequences for Europe and beyond”, so the EU tries to work with other partners such as Israel to address the challenges that this entails, among which is also the rise in prices or the crisis world food crisis that the war has caused, explained von der Leyen.

“The EU was Russia’s biggest and most important customer” in oil, gas and coal, but after the Ukraine war, “Russia’s attempt to blackmail us with energy, deliberately cutting off its supply, has made us decide to cut off and get rid of of Russia’s dependence on some fuels” and moving to “trusted suppliers” such as Israel, he added.

According to media, Israeli and European authorities have been negotiating the export of gas through Egypt for more than a month.

Given the lack of gas pipelines between Israel and the EU, the option at the moment is to channel Israeli gas through the Arab country, to be liquefied and later exported by ship to Europe.

The Israeli authorities have assured that they can deliver almost 1,000 million cubic meters of gas to the European continent.

On the other hand, in his meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohamed Shtayeh, Von der Leyen announced the release of 224.8 million euros of funds to finance the PNA that had been frozen since 2021.

These account for the bulk of EU aid to the Palestinian authorities, and were blocked by an attempt by the Hungarian Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner, Olivér Várhelyi, to condition the money on the PNA changing the content of Palestinian textbooks. considering that they include anti-Semitic content.

The unblocking is interpreted as a gesture by the European institutions towards the Palestinian authorities, in a bad economic situation and increasingly delegitimized among their own population.

The blocking of these funds prevented vulnerable Palestinian families from receiving aid, or the Augusta Victoria hospital in occupied East Jerusalem from stopping treating cancer patients due to lack of resources, so the money is expected to help stabilize the precarious situation in the Palestinian territories.

During the day, Von der Leyen also visited the Jerusalem Holocaust Museum (Yad Vashem), received an honorary doctorate from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev (southern Israel) and met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

His visit coincided almost in parallel with that of the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, who also met today with the Palestinian authorities and addressed the issue of gas supply cooperation with Israel.

Source: Elcomercio

Share this article:
globalhappenings news.jpg
most popular