Euro-Mediterranean Energy Community: Promoting Energy Cooperation Between Europe and Africa

Euro-Mediterranean Energy Community: Promoting Energy Cooperation Between Europe and Africa

Louis Boisgibault and Mourad Preure

Climate change is a common challenge for a number of Mediterranean countries both in the north and in the south and this situation thus requires a collective and coordinated action. A recent study has suggested that the Mediterranean basin would be a “hot spot” of climate change because of its vulnerability to the consequences of an average rise in temperatures by 2100.

The overall repercussions will be even more severe as North Africa is already experiencing a few structural issues such as shortages of basic products, water shortages, increase in energy demand and uncontrolled urban sprawl along the coasts and other challenges. This naturally raises issues of fighting environmental changes on a regional level that should apply the principles of proximity, solidarity and co-responsibility.

Experts generally promote an integrated approach, based on a global strengthened cooperation between both the north and the south shores of the Mediterranean, focusing on the need for an energy transition and opportunities that it could bring. Some even suggest that energy should be the first Euro-Mediterranean common policy because of the energy complementarity in the region.

According to some opinions, a regional partnership in the energy sector could drive growth in all Mediterranean countries, spurring innovativeness, job creation and the development of new industrial sectors. In other words, energy cooperation would transcend the traditional form of the cross-Mediterranean cooperation that is mostly restricted to export-import structure.

To attain sustainable development through energy, a common strategy and convergence to common standards are required. Moreover, mutual interconnections, the development of new industrial cooperation in the energy sectors and increased partnerships among industrials, universities and research centers will be needed as well. The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), in Paris, and the next COP22 in Morocco, to some degree highlighted the prospects for climate to foster a greater cooperation in the Mediterranean region – between Europe and Africa.

‘A Regional Energy Partnership Around Mediterranean Energy Community’ – a Report by Louis Boisgibault and Mourad Preure – L’Institut de Prospective Economique du Monde Méditerranéen – IPEMED (The Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute).

(The study can be downloaded here)