On Saturday, 17 December, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with leaders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania for the signing of a Black Sea energy submarine cable deal, which is meant to further decrease the EU’s reliance on Russian oil and uptake its green energy use.
1. New non-Russian power source for Europe
The Commission President, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Romanian President Iohannis and Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă met at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in Bucharest for the signing.
Today, we can say that the two shores of the Black Sea have never been closer.Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President
According to the deal, a 1,100 km long cable is to be built under the Black Sea, connecting the Romanian and Azerbaijani shores. The project “will help reinforce our security of supply by bringing electricity from renewable sources to the European Union, via Romania and through Hungary”, said von der Leyen, adding that it “could bring Georgia, a country with a European destiny, great benefits as well. It could transform the country into an electricity hub and integrate it in the EU internal electricity market.”
During the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev explained that Azerbaijan currently produces 27 gigawatts of wind and solar power and is planning to increase the output by 4 more gigawatts by the end of 2027. “It is a step towards creating a corridor for green energy”, Aliyev said.
“Since the beginning of Russia’s war, we have decided to turn our back on Russian fossil fuels and to diversify towards reliable energy partners, like the partners here around the table”, said von der Leyen, emphasising that the deal is not just about finding alternative oil and gas sources, but also increasing renewable energies. The Commission President highlighted how green energy is not just good for the planet, but, besides creating jobs in the home country, they also increase the independence and security of the energy supply.
2. Energy supply for Ukraine and Moldova
The Black Sea electric cable will not only supply the EU, but will also be used to bring energy to Moldova, the Western Balkans and Ukraine, which has been gravely impacted by the war.
It will help start rebuilding Ukraine’s energy system and the reconstruction of the country.Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President
Since the beginning of the war, Moldova and Ukraine have been even more affected by Russia’s energy attacks, cutting their supply and bombing critical infrastructure in Ukraine. The new cable could be a ray of hope for rebuilding their energy security based on reliable partners.