On August 6th, 2020, Greece and Egypt signed a historic agreement that defines their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean. The deal aims to promote cooperation between the two countries and will have a significant impact on the region`s geopolitics.
The agreement covers an area of about 74,000 square kilometers and includes a rich natural gas field that lies between the two countries, discovered by Italian energy company Eni in 2015. The agreement establishes a maritime boundary between the two countries` EEZ, granting Greece the right to explore and exploit natural resources in the area.
This agreement comes amidst escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey over their respective EEZs in the region. Turkey, which does not recognize the maritime boundaries drawn by Greece and Cyprus, has been sending exploration vessels to the area, leading to military confrontations with Greece and escalating concern from the EU and NATO.
Egypt, which also has a dispute with Turkey over maritime boundaries, has been a key ally in Greece`s efforts to counteract Turkey`s aggressive posture in the Eastern Mediterranean. The agreement between Greece and Egypt is a significant step towards establishing a regional security framework in the area and reducing tension in the region.
The agreement is also a significant development for the energy sector, as it opens the way for the exploitation of natural gas reserves in the area. Egypt, which has been working to become a regional energy hub, has the infrastructure to process natural gas and export it to Europe. The deal could help Greece become a key player in the European natural gas market, as it would allow it to export gas through Egypt`s infrastructure.
The agreement has been praised by the international community, with several countries and organizations calling for a peaceful resolution to the disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean. The EU has welcomed the agreement, with European Council President Charles Michel stating that “now is the time for dialogue and de-escalation, not the time for aggressive actions or provocative statements.”
In conclusion, the agreement between Greece and Egypt is a significant development for the Eastern Mediterranean, as it promotes cooperation between two key regional players and helps to reduce tensions in the area. The agreement has the potential to unlock the region`s energy resources and promote economic development. However, it remains to be seen if other countries in the area, particularly Turkey, will accept the agreement and work towards a peaceful resolution of the disputes in the region.