MED9 discusses the Mediterranean role in becoming an environmental hub
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta hosted for the first time the MED9 meeting of energy ministers from nine Southern European countries in the Mediterranean. The countries which took part in this meeting were Croatia, Cyprus, Greece France, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. The European Ministers discussed the EU targets for renewable energy and the Mediterranean’s role in becoming an environmental hub especially in the energy sector.
The nine countries signed a joint declaration launching the vision for the Mediterranean Region as a Hub of Green Energy, to accelerate the EU’s drive for a decarbonised, energy-independent future. The Med9 countries agreed that the Mediterranean can become a centre of renewable energy investments, with a focus on offshore renewables and new energy interconnections between EU and non-EU Mediterranean countries, to facilitate European investment in green energy. The joint statement sets out several important actions. The Med9 countries will be launching a steering committee to work together and plan the way forward for the establishment of the Mediterranean Green Energy Hub. This commitment will lead to new growth and employment opportunities in the region. The Energy Ministers also invited the EU Commission to conduct a comprehensive report to study the potential of green energy corridors that can link Europe with the renewable energy potential in neighbouring North African countries and to prioritise funding for the development of these critical Mediterranean interconnections. They also agreed to prioritise investments in renewable energy solutions, such as offshore renewables, solar PV power generation systems, the production and transportation of renewable hydrogen, and storage solutions. The Malta declaration affirms that the nine countries will work to make sure that every member state can benefit from the Mediterranean region’s green energy potential.
Maltese Energy Minister Miriam Dalli said that EU funds need to be invested towards innovative renewable energy projects that attract investment across all sea basins, including the Mediterranean. She added that this depends on financial support for research and innovation and for grid developments and proper infrastructure for the production, transmission, and storage of energy. Dalli invited the European Commission to speed up close cooperation among EU states while facilitating the development of new partnerships with other regions. “Cooperation with North Africa will play a vital role in accelerating the deployment of renewables in the EU,” she said. Miriam Dalli announced that the Maltese government is finalizing a policy document focusing on the potential zones for the deployment of offshore renewable energy systems. She added that investment in more renewable energy supports the EU vision, including the revised Renewable Energy Directive that “raised the ambition significantly.” While referring to the Eurostat statistics that show that by the end of 2021, Malta exceeded the national 2030 target regarding renewable energy, she announced that Maltàs ultimate aim is to become climate neutral by 2050. The EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said the summit could not have come at a better time, with the Commission presenting the RepowerEU plan last year. Simson said natural gas prices are similar to pre-war levels. This means, explained the EU Commissioner, that the attempt made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to blackmail Europe was unsuccessful. Kadri Simson said around 16 gigawatts of onshore and offshore wind renewables were installed last year. She added that renewable energy produced more electricity than gas in 2022.
The European Commissioner referred to the ongoing collaborations with countries in the North African region. “Last year we reached out to all out trusted partners, and Egypt was among the first ones to sign an MOU with the EU, allowing us to import more LNG than previously,” she said. Simson added that the EU made several financing decisions to create a solid basis for renewable projects in Egypt, while mentioning the good dialogue with Algeria and Morocco. Italy was represented by Fabrizio Romano, Italian Ambassador to Malta as the Italian Energy Minister had to cancel his participation due to other commitments related to the situation in the region of Emilia Romagna which was badly hit by extreme weather.
-photo credit Department of information Malta-