Greece, Cyprus and Israel to expedite East-Med pipeline

PM Netanyahu in Nicosia with Cyprus President Anastasiades and Greek PM Tsipras (Photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

Greece, Cyprus and Israel have accelerated the development of a pipeline that will run from Israel’s gas fields to Europe.

Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece on Thursday where he met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Minister and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. It was the third trilateral meeting to date, all leaders signing a Joint Declaration of the Third Trilateral to expedite and move forward with the pipeline.

The trilateral committee was created in January of 2016, to serve as a means “to strengthen the cooperation between our three countries in order to promote a trilateral partnership in different fields of common interest and to work together towards promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Mediterranean and the wider region.”

In April, Israel signed a joint declaration with Cyprus, Greece and Italy to move forward with construction of the undersea gas pipeline, known as “East-Med”. The pipeline is proposed to be over 2,000 kilometers long and bring gas from Israel’s gas fields to Cyprus, Greece and Italy.

Addressing the press following there meeting Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated on the East Med pipeline ” A few months ago it was in the realm of fantasy. Now it’s becoming real… The idea of the East Med pipeline would be a revolution. We’ve had preliminary studies of it. It seems promising, and we’re going to look further.”

The committee will now focus on “the establishment of a consortium of investors and its implementation,” Israel in talks with Egypt, Jordan, Italy and Turkey.

President Anastasiades emphasized the economic cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean, stating that Israel, Cyprus and Greece “agreed to expedite our joint actions concerning our agreement on the construction of a large project which will offer new prospects of economic cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean.”

The creation of the gas pipeline will not only benefit Israel’s economy and diplomatic and trade relations with European states, but also spearhead Israel’s entrance into becoming the world’s largest natural gas exporter.

The gas pipeline will also relieve markets of dependency on Russia for energy, with growing concern and opposition from EU states on approval by the EU Commission to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a 1,200 kilometer pipeline to run from Russia under the Baltic Sea, parallel to the existing Nord Stream pipeline.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, June 17, 2017, and reposted with permission.