Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2015

Rethinking EU Energy Policies Towards the Southern Mediterranean Region

Silvia Colombo, Nicolò Sartori

November 2014

Istituto Affari Internazionali


Energy is a key factor shaping relations between Europe and North Africa. Due to the Maghreb's strategic role for European energy security, in the last two decades the EU has attempted to promote deeper energy cooperation both with and within the region. The success of the EU's bilateral and multilateral initiatives, however, has been hindered by diverging interests between European countries and their North African counterparts. The upheaval in the region unleashed by the Arab awakening, along with critical socio-economic challenges like population growth and urbanization, are altering this picture. In this context, the EU should urgently rethink its energy cooperation models with the southern partners, seizing the opportunities engendered by the current moment of change in the region.