Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in relation to the EastMed Pipeline Project that was signed in the presence of the European Commission, on December 5, 2017, in Nicosia, in the framework of the Ministerial Quadrilateral Summit between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Italy, the Ministers of Energy of Cyprus, Greece and Israel and the Italian Ambassador in Cyprus made the following statements to the Press.
Cyprus Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis:
“Following what was agreed on the 3rd of April 2017, in Tel Aviv, at the first Ministerial Quadrilateral Summit between our four countries Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Italy, today, we have gathered in Nicosia for the second Ministerial Summit on the EastMed pipeline.
I would like to welcome my colleagues from Greece and Israel and the Ambassador of Italy in Cyprus.
I would also like to thank the European Commission for being here, demonstrating concretely their support for the EastMed pipeline, and of course, the representatives of the consortium that is leading this project.
Today, we have completed a very significant milestone, which is the signing of Memorandum of Understanding, which outlines the political commitment of the four countries to pursuit this project, supported wholeheartedly, because we all consider it to be a very important pillar for what we call the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas corridor to the European Union.
We consider this project to be a very important pillar in being able to support the security of supply of the European Union, as you are very well aware, is looking for ways to diversify its energy sources.
Today, we also had the opportunity to discuss the status of the project and the consortium was able to present its timelines in order for proceeding forward to more detailed technical studies which are required.
One of the most important elements of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today was the commitment of the four countries to work diligently in order to conclude the necessary inter-governmental agreement, which will determine the aspects of the pipeline, the jurisdictions and anything else that is needed in order to make this project possible.
With that, I would like to conclude by saying that the importance of having the four countries, supported by the Commission, in this undergoing effort to find ways so to bring the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas to the European markets, is of a strategic importance.
Today, we also expressed our commitment that we will continue this effort, trying, at the same time, to expand it even further in an effort again to create what we call the Eastern Mediterranean corridor.”
On his part, the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, George Stathakis, said, inter alia, that “today we are making a major step forward in a project that Greece supported right from the beginning, considering it to be strategically very important for Europe,” as it will bring benefits to both producers and consumers in Europe.
Noting that EastMed pipeline project is financially and technically feasible, Minister Stathakis added that Greece can also become a potential producer as “there is a development on new contracts for exploration and a new tender process has been initiated”.
“We are very happy that things between the two ministerial meetings moved very fast and according to schedule, and today’s meeting is a major step forward. We are looking forward to keep the same pace with this major project that we fully support as a country”, added the Minister, who announced that the upcoming third ministerial meeting will take place in Greece, either in Athens or in Crete.
The Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, Yuval Steinitz, said, inter alia:
“We have a serious progress since the initial meeting held seven months ago, in Tel Aviv, and here, we are already signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the timetable to sign a final agreement between the governments of Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel. We want to start this major project as soon as possible.
I was also very encouraged by the details and the statements made by the European Union, the Energy Commissioner, the representatives and the consortium about the technical and economic feasibility of the project”.
“It looks like a fantasy, as a dream, because there is no parallel, there is no such a long and deep underwater gas pipeline in the world, and now, we can understand that this is possible, viable and a good project.”
“This is a wonderful cooperation between four European Mediterranean countries with the very strong and positive backing of the European Union, the European Energy Commissioner and I am confident that it will be mutually beneficial for Italy, Israel, Greece and of course Cyprus, and for all the other countries in the European region”, Minister Steinitz noted.
Andrea Cavallari, the Italian Ambassador in Cyprus, who represented the Italian Energy Minister in the Ministerial Quadrilateral Summit and signed on his behalf the Memorandum of Understanding, confirmed Italy’s full support to the development and implementation of the EastMed pipeline project, which is considered strategic, both from national and regional point view, as he said.
Italy is looking forward to the future development of the project with the objective of signing an inter-government agreement within 2018, Ambassador Cavallari further noted./IBNA