Following reports of US doubts about the financial and environmental sustainability of the EastMed gas pipeline project, a State Department official reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to the 3 + 1 regional alliance scheme (Cyprus, Greece, Israel plus the United States), while emphasizing that European energy independence is a key national security issue.
“At a time when Europe’s energy security is more than ever a matter of national security, we are committed to deepening our regional relations and promoting clean energy technologies,” the spokesman said in response to a question from Greek media.
“The United States continues to strongly support regional efforts to strengthen and advance cooperation and regional stability, including the 3 + 1 mechanism involving the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States,” the spokesman said.
“We remain committed to physically connecting Eastern Mediterranean energy to Europe,” the spokesman said, adding that the US is shifting its focus to electrical interconnections that can support both gas and renewables.
Washington is supporting projects such as the planned EuroAfrica interconnector from Egypt to Crete and mainland Greece, as well as the proposed EuroAsia interconnector to connect Israeli, Cypriot and European power grids, according to a State Department official.
“Such projects will not only connect vital energy markets, but will also help prepare the region for the transition to clean energy,” the official said.
Notably, a day earlier, a tweet published by a Washington correspondent for a Greek state broadcaster said:
Στο non-paper για τον EastMed Gas Pipeline καταγράφονται 3 λόγοι για τη μη παροχή διπλωματικής στήριξης εκ μέρους Ουάσιγκτον 1) προστασία περιβάλλοντος / ενεργειακή μετάβαση / στροφή προς ανανεώσιμες 2) έλλειψη οικονομικής κ εμπορικής βιωσιμότητας 3) δημιουργία εντάσεων στην περιοχή
– Lena Argiri (@lenaargiri) January 8, 2022
“The EastMed gas pipeline non-paper lists 3 reasons why Washington will not provide diplomatic support:
environmental protection / transition to renewable energy sources; lack of economic and commercial viability; creating tension in the region ”.
The U.S. Ambassador to Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt, tweeted a message stating that there has been no change in the State Department regarding the EastMed project.
Michael / Christos – I assure you that these report are off base. I covered this last month at the @AmChamGr economic summit in a conversation with @KaterinaSokou The issue is commercial feasibility and on that we’re most excited about projects for regional electric interconnection
– Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbPyatt) January 8, 2022
Nonetheless, US Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez has asked the State Department for clarification, ANT1 reported from Washington on Sunday afternoon. A number of Greek media outlets see in the US decision a clear position in favor of Turkey, which is categorically against the project.
Some analysts note that the project had problems with financial viability from the outset, but they point to the geopolitical aspect of EastMed as “a source of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and a clear shift in the US balance in favor of Turkey.”
The big problem for Greece, however, is that it has created a whole narrative around the project, welcoming that it will turn the country into an energy hub in the area and increase the country’s geopolitical influence.
In 2013, the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline was designated as a project of common interest by the European Commission Regulation 347/2013, and in the period 2015-2018, the Commission allocated more than 34.5 million euros (38.9 million USD) for the completion of technical , economic and environmental studies for the project.
The Greece, Cyprus and Israel Energy Triangle signed an intergovernmental agreement on the EastMed gas pipeline in Tel Aviv on March 20, 2019, in the presence of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in support of the project from Washington. The US interest in the pipeline stems from Washington’s demand that its European partners continue their policy of diversifying energy imports. The pipeline will diversify gas supplies to Europe and reduce dependence on Russian natural gas.
PS It turns out that now gas is an environmentally friendly energy. And it is non-ecological only in the pipes of the aggressor, and after selling it to free countries, especially if they then resell it at an inflated price, it automatically receives the status of free and environmentally friendly.