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The Growing Importance of Interconnection Projects in Greece’s Energy Policy

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The process that started with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has devastated the European Union (EU) countries the most in the field of energy. Greece has been one of the countries in the EU that have seen how difficult the dependence on Russia for energy has put itself in a difficult situation. The Athens administration aims to profit from this process by realizing interconnection projects with various countries.

There are five states that come to the forefront in this policy pursued by Greece. Of these states, Bulgaria is located in Europe, Israel and Saudi Arabia are in the Middle East, and Egypt and Libya are located in North Africa. Therefore, it is observed that the policy is trying to be realized in a multifaceted way.

Greece pursues two goals with its policy. The first of these aims is to increase its importance in the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean. In other words, Greece is trying to integrate the countries bordering the Mediterranean into its own defense policy. The second objective is to contribute to Europe’s energy security and become an energy hub by taking part in projects that serve to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas. In this way, Greece thinks that it will increase its importance for the United States (US), the EU, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with the effect of the war conjuncture. Therefore, it can be said that Greece is trying to position itself as an important actor in ensuring Europe’s energy security.

As mentioned above, the Athens administration cooperates with various countries while carrying out these policies. One of these countries is Bulgaria. In fact, in July 2022, the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector Gas Pipeline was opened between Greece and Bulgaria. The pipeline became operational on October 2, 2022. Thus, Greece plays an important role in the transmission of Azerbaijani natural gas to Bulgaria. Based on the success of the project, it can be foreseen that more countries will be able to make demands. This will serve Greece’s policy of trying to bring itself to the forefront as a transit hub in the field of energy.

Another notable state is Saudi Arabia. As it will be remembered, on July 26, 2022, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Athens.[1] This visit is quite remarkable in that it is the first official visit of the Crown Prince to an EU country after 2018. Moreover, the parties have agreed on the implementation of the interconnection of undersea data cables that will connect Europe and Asia.

Egypt has also come to the fore as an important country in terms of realizing Greece’s policy. As is known, in recent years the relations between Greece and Egypt have improved considerably. In this, the cooperation of the two countries on energy plays an important role. Accordingly, with the undersea interconnection project planned to be realized by Athens and Cairo, electricity exports from Egypt to Greece are planned.[2] Due to this project, electricity will be exported from the African continent to Europe. The electricity that will come from Egypt will not only meet Greece’s energy needs but some of it will also be exported to other European countries. Therefore, this is also closely related to European countries.

In addition to the above-mentioned countries, Greece wants to realize an interconnection project with Israel by taking the Greek Cypriot Administration of South Cyprus (GCA) with it. In fact, in October 2022, important developments took place on the Greece-Israel-GCA line. In this context, the parties have taken important steps to implement the EuroAsia Interconnection Project, which will connect the Greek, GCA, and Israeli electricity grids. The construction works of the GCA-Crete section started on October 14, 2022, and the project is planned to be completed in 2025.[3]

Another interconnection project that came to the agenda recently was between Greece and the legitimate Abdulhamid Dibeybe Government in Libya, which Fethi Basaga in Tobruk was trying to overthrow. Farhad Bengdara, who was appointed as the chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corporation by the legitimate government of Abdulhamid Dibeybe in Libya, stated that they are considering building two gas pipelines to Greece and the Egyptian city of Damietta. On October 6, 2022, the US State Department stated that they were open to the possibility of an energy connection between Greece and Libya. Furthermore, the US has said that Washington continues to support projects that promote the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa’s energy connection with Europe.[4]

These policies should not be considered only between Greece and other countries. The US, for example, offers its strong support for Greece’s interconnection projects with Libya and Egypt. In this respect, Washington is clearly making a geopolitical choice in its Eastern Mediterranean policy. On the other hand, the EU supports the EuroAsia interconnection developed within the framework of Greece-GCA-Israeli cooperation.

Consequently, with the recent developments in the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean and the conjuncture created by the Russia-Ukraine War, it is seen that Greece is focusing on interconnection projects. It is understood that Greece, especially after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, is trying to play a critical role in ensuring Europe’s energy security. Through this policy, the Athens administration is trying to integrate the actors it cooperates with into its own defense and foreign policy.


[1] “Saudi Arabia and Greece Sign Agreements on Energy, Security, Telecom, Digital Economy”, Gulf Business, https://gulfbusiness.com/saudi-arabia-and-greece-sign-agreements-on-energy-security-telecom-digital-economy/, (Date of Accession:10.11.2022).

[2] “Undersea Power Cable to Connect Egypt to Europe via Greece”, Africanews, https://www.africanews.com/2022/09/15/undersea-power-cable-to-connect-egypt-to-europe-via-greece/, (Date of Accession: 10.11.2022).

[3] “World’s Longest Submarine Power Cable to Connect Greek, Cypriot and Israeli Power Grids”, Greek City Times, https://greekcitytimes.com/2022/10/11/worlds-longest-cable-greek-cypriot-israeli/, (Date of Accession: 10.11.2022).

[4] “State Department is Open to Greece-Libya Energy Interconnection”, Keep Talking Greece, https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2022/11/06/greece-libya-energy-natural-gas-interconnection-us-state-department/, (Date of Accession: 10.11.2022).

Cemal Ege ÖZKAN
Cemal Ege Özkan, 2019 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2022 senesinde aynı üniversitenin Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk İlkeleri ve İnkılap Tarihi Anabilim Dalı’nda hazırladığı “Türk Siyasi Hayatında Selim Rauf Sarper ve Faaliyetleri” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Hâlihazırda aynı enstitüde doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. 2020-2021 yılları arasında Türk Tarih Kurumu Yüksek Lisans Bursiyeri olan Özkan, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.