On 20 July, European foreign ministers launched the new EU Energy Diplomacy Action Plan. It is a welcome first step towards ensuring that energy plans are coherent with EU foreign policy objectives and core European values. However, the first priority of this plan remains focused on opening up new gas import routes and accessing new gas fields. Such a diversification plan fails to consider the worsening security risks that energy producing countries face: new form of extremism, conflicts, social and economic instability, and the impacts of climate change.
Algeria, for example, is considered as one strategic alternative to Russian supplies. However, serious doubts have been raised over whether Algeria would be able to increase and even maintain its gas exports to Europe. Jerome Ferrier, President of the International Gas Union, recently highlighted Algeria’s “unstable politics, higher domestic demand and insufficient capital” as major constraints to drive investment in costly new exploration and production. Current projections shows that Algeria will likely consume everything it extracts by 2030, becoming a net energy importer soon after. Additionally, unprecedented environmental protests are disrupting the country’s multibillion-dollar shale programme, increasing political instability across an already unstable North African region.
As tensions across fossil fuel producing countries increase, even maintaining existing energy supplies will be a significant challenge. The advances of Islamic State (IS) in Libya and Tunisia, threatening the oil and gas complex of Mellitah, prompted the Italian Government to prepare a detailed military plan to protect key energy infrastructure. This included Greenstream, the longest gas pipeline into Europe departing from Mellitah. On Sunday 18 July, four Italian construction workers were kidnapped near the compound, located 30 km west from Sabratha, home to the IS base that trained the Sousse attacker and the two gunmen responsible for the slaughter at the Tunis Bardo museum.
This shows why energy diplomacy simply cannot treat energy security in isolation to broader foreign policy challenges.
For the complete article, please see Euractiv.com.
The longstanding dispute over water rights among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia escalated in 2011 when Ethiopia began construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in the absence of any agreement with downstream Egypt. The GERD dispute offers an alarming insight into just how dangerous future transboundary water disputes may become, particularly in the context of a changing climate.
Coinciding with the first days the German Presidency of the European Council, on 3 July 2020 adelphi and the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel launched a new report “The Geopolitics of Decarbonisation: Reshaping European Foreign Relations”. This summary highlights the event's key outcomes.
Women in the region suffer disproportionately from climate impacts, but they also play an essential role in addressing climate change. With the right policy responses, it is possible to reduce security risks and empower women to better address the challenges they face.
The impact of climate change is posing a growing threat to peace and security. Germany is therefore putting climate and security on the Security Council’s agenda.