Italian parliament supports EastMed pipeline

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The Italian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee called on its government to work with the countries (Cyprus, Greece and Israel) involved in the EastMed gas pipeline to assess its development prospects.

According to the Italian media, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Lower House approved a resolution filed by Deputy President Paolo Formentini, committing the government “to continue the appropriate dialogue with the countries involved in the EastMed project”.

And to “assess its development, with a view on diversifying energy supply sources, based on the international geopolitical context and the conditions of technical and economic feasibility.”

The text also requires the executive to “pay the greatest possible attention to the integration processes taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean, a crucial region for national energy supplies and global political-strategic balances.”

MPs from all parties in the right-wing governing coalition and the so-called Third Pole, a centrist federation, voted in favour.

The two main opposition parties – Democratic Party and Five Star Movement – abstained, while the Greens and Left Alliance voted against.

So, the next move is down to the Italian government.

Formentini said: “Parliament has finally expressed itself, after an in-depth discussion, in support of what we can define as a ‘pipeline of democracies,’ emphasising the centrality of the Eastern Mediterranean for Italy’s energy supply.

“It is crucial to diversify both energy sources and supply routes.”

The resolution noted that the pipeline would allow Rome to “recalibrate energy supply choices” in light of diversification away from Russian gas.

Libya, another gas supplier, remains “very unstable and far from complete pacification,” while more moderate contacts between Turkey and Israel will hopefully “prelude to a sharper de-escalation” even between Ankara and Athens.

The Eastmed project “is also proposed as a strategic corridor useful to promote the renewable potential of the Eastern Mediterranean region through the transport of green gases such as hydrogen,” it added.

The EastMed-Poseidon pipeline, which would initially connect several gas fields offshore Israel to Italy and have an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas, could be ready by 2027.

The project, supported by Israel, Cyprus and Greece, would guarantee alternative supplies for Europe, which is weaning itself off Russian piped gas.

In addition, it would better connect Cyprus to its EU partners.

The pipeline would be fed by Israeli gas fields already in production and others under development.

The EastMed-Poseidon pipeline is on the EU Projects of Common Interest list published in 2021.

Greenpeace has asked Brussels not to fund it for environmental and geopolitical reasons.

Italy has yet to sign the intergovernmental agreement (inked by Israel, Cyprus, and Greece in 2020) on the pipeline.