Israel and Egypt plan to boost gas exports to Europe under an agreement signed during a Cairo visit Wednesday (15 June) by the European Commission president as the bloc seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.
Ursula von der Leyen also pledged relief worth €100 million for food security in Egypt, which has been reeling from grain shortages due to the Ukraine war.
“Russia’s war against Ukraine has exposed our European dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and we want to get rid of this dependency,” von der Leyen told a joint press conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“We want to diversify to trustworthy suppliers, and Egypt is a trustworthy partner.”
She had vowed on Tuesday, during a visit to Israel, to confront Russia for its use of fossil fuels to “blackmail” European countries.
The memorandum of understanding on gas exports between Egypt, Israel and the EU was signed at the East Mediterranean Gas Forum on Wednesday (15 June).
It says the three sides “will endeavour to work collectively towards enabling a stable delivery of natural gas to the EU that is consistent with long-term decarbonisation objectives and is based on market-oriented pricing”.
It also states that Israeli gas “may be shipped” via LNG infrastructure in Egypt.
Under a landmark $15 billion deal in 2020, Israel already exports gas from an offshore field to Egypt, where it is liquefied and shipped to European countries.
But a significant increase in gas exports from Israel via Egypt would require major long-term infrastructure investments.
Von der Leyen also said Egypt had abundant sun and wind power, “the energies of the future”, and that the EU and Egypt jointly exploring them was in “our common interest”.
“We are starting to tap into the full potential of EU-Egypt relations by putting the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change at the heart of our partnership,” she said in a statement.