Enel Foundation and the IAI organized the conference “Italy’s Perspectives on Forging a New EU-North Africa Energy Pact”


November 18, 2014 (Rome) – Enel Foundation and the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) organized a conference as part of the joint research project “EU energy policies towards the Mediterranean”. The event was held at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the aegis of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Enel Foundation and the IAI organize the conference “Italy’s Perspectives on Forging a New Euro-Mediterranean Energy Pact”

What will be the EU contribution to the future prospects of the energy sector in the North African countries? In particular, what contribution could Italy offer?

This issue was discussed during the conference - “Italy’s Perspectives on Forging a New EU-North Africa Energy Pact” - organized in Rome by Enel Foundation and the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), on November 18, within the framework of the events scheduled for the Semester of Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The event was opened by Luigi Marras, Director General for Global Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Felice Egidi, Head of Regulatory Affairs of Enel Green Power, and Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, President of the Istituto Affari Internazionali. Speakers highlighted the importance of energy in improving stability: for this reason it is at the top of the economic and political agenda of many countries.

Enel Foundation and the IAI organize the conference “Italy’s Perspectives on Forging a New Euro-Mediterranean Energy Pact”

The current political, economic and social transition in the MENA region affects the energy market, leading to larger energy consumption. This energy need cannot be met only by an increasing fossil fuels consumption, but a new approach is required, based on RES development (and simultaneous grid development), energy efficiency, new trading mechanisms, and a change in the regulatory framework.

Enel Foundation and the IAI organize the conference “Italy’s Perspectives on Forging a New Euro-Mediterranean Energy Pact”

The conference is part of a wider project – “EU energy policies towards the Mediterranean“ – jointly developed by Enel Foundation and the IAI.

This study (which foresees an activity reported in a total of five research papers) analyzes the energy trends in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, identifying their main development drivers, and the policies adopted by the governments of these countries in response to the evolution of their national energy sectors. The study and the first working paper Rethinking EU Energy policies towards the southern Mediterranean region was presented by Marzia Germini, Head of Capacity Building and Knowledge Dissemination Area of the Enel Foundation, and Nicolò Sartori, Senior Fellow at the Istituto Affari Internazionali. Their key messages underlined the importance of North African countries as natural gas suppliers for the EU, the strong reliance on fossil fuels in their energy mix, and the lack of an effective and independent regulatory framework. Concerning the EU, some recommendations were given about the importance of abandoning the North-South, top-down, approach, to focus on joint-planned activities, while making sure that bilateral and multilateral initiatives do not overlap.

In addition, the study seeks to identify concrete proposals - to be introduced in the European agenda– to improve the European initiatives towards the Southern Mediterranean area. In particular, it aims at strengthening inter and intra-regional cooperation and fostering a sustainable and efficient energy transition in the countries of the region.

Enel Foundation and the IAI organize the conference “Italy’s Perspectives on Forging a New Euro-Mediterranean Energy Pact”

Some proposals for a new Euro-Mediterranean energy pact were discussed by two panels of international experts.

The panelists of the first roundtable, moderated by Clemente Gnarra, Business Development, Upstream Gas Division of the Enel Group, and dedicated to “Energy Transitions in the Southern Mediterranean: National and Regional Implications”, were: Marco Berti-Palazzi, International Relations Officer for South Mediterranean and Maghreb countries at the DG ENER of the European Commission, Tareq Emtairah, Executive Director of the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), and Ahmed Baroudi, General Director of the Société d’Investissements Energétiques. They stressed the importance of RES development and higher energy efficiency in North Africa, as a response to an increasing energy demand.

A second roundtable on “A New Euro-North Africa Energy Pact? Italy’s Point of View” was moderated by Nicolò Sartori, and saw the participation of Fabio Tambone, Head of External International Affairs of the Italian Energy and Water Regulator (AEEGSI) and General Coordinator of MEDREG, Giuseppe Montesano, Head of European Energy Policy and Analysis of the Enel Group, and Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4MED. The panelists discussed the role of Italy as a key player in the Mediterranean basin, the importance of a complementarity of the systems in terms of regulation, trade and interconnections, and the major role that renewable energy will play in the sustainable energy transition in the region.

Conclusions were delivered by Hon. Pierantonio Panzeri, Head of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Maghreb Countries and the Arab Maghreb Union. Panzeri stressed the need to create a Euro-Mediterranean partnership to promote the development of renewable energy by 2020, while fostering a common policy to manage energy resources, with the dual objective of ensuring the security of energy supplies and progressively harmonizing the legislative framework of the countries of the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean with their European counterparts.

Enel Foundation and the IAI organize the conference “Italy’s Perspectives on Forging a New Euro-Mediterranean Energy Pact”

The North African context is rapidly changing, experiencing a fast development. The demand for energy, and in particular for electricity, continues to grow, highlighting the need for a sustainable energy transition. In this changing context, the EU has to rethink its energy cooperation models in the Southern Mediterranean, seeking for a new, more balanced, energy pact with North African countries, in order to ensure both energy security and sustainability.

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