The EU Member States and countries in the Southeastern Mediterranean unanimously adopted a Joint Declaration today, calling for their cooperation to be strengthened on safety and environmental protection from offshore oil and gas activities, while also recognising the important role that the Southeastern Mediterranean region can play in enhancing the energy supply of the EU. The Joint Declaration is the outcome of the Ministerial Conference on “Energy Cooperation between the EU and countries of the Southeastern Mediterranean region”, which took place today at the Aphrodite Hills Resort in Paphos and was co-organised by the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Commission. The EU Commissioner of Energy, Mr. Günther Oettinger, represented the Commission.
As emphasised by the Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, responsible for energy matters, Mr. Neoklis Sylikiotis, the Cyprus Presidency had set the Mediterranean dimension of European policies, including those for the important energy sector as one of its horizontal priorities.
“The discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the Southeastern Mediterranean region creates new prospects for peace and prosperity for our peoples, but also for the diversification and enhancement of our cooperation with the EU,” he added.
Security of energy supply
The recent discoveries of natural gas in the Southeastern Mediterranean transform the wider region into a significant source of energy. “As such, the creation of the Southeastern Mediterranean Gas Corridor could become an additional source for the supply of the energy needs of the EU and the region,” stressed Mr. Sylikiotis.
Moreover, the Cypriot Minister of Commerce pointed out that the Cyprus Presidency succeeded in the completion of the dossier on the Regulation on Trans-European Energy Infrastructure, which, as he explained, is expected to bring “common benefits for the EU and its neighbours, for example by promoting infrastructures of common interest that will facilitate, inter alia, the cross-border electricity and gas interconnections between the EU and the Southeastern Mediterranean region”.
Enhancing cooperation on the safety of offshore activities
The Joint Declaration calls for the enhancement of cooperation between EU Member States and the Southeastern Mediterranean countries, on the issues of safety and environmental protection from offshore oil and gas activities. Specifically, according to Mr. Sylikiotis, the Declaration addresses such issues as the emergency response in the event of an accident, the exchange of best practices, the identification of measures to ensure high level standards of safety and environmental protection, the need to create a mechanism that will facilitate the convergence of the relevant legislative framework, and finally, the common policies both inside and outside the EU.