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Policy Brief / Energy

In Search of an EU Energy Policy for Mediterranean Renewables Exchange: EU-Wide System vs. 'Corridor by Corridor' Approach

Author(s): GLACHANT Jean-Michel, AHNER Nicole

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ABSTRACT

- To date there is no clear EU legal and regulatory framework governing renewables exchange across the Mediterranean. It is a patchwork of Member State, third country and EU energy regulation, complemented by case-sensitive renewables-specific trade arrangements that frame EU imports of energy from renewable sources (RES-E) generated by projects currently under development in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).
- As the vision of a Mediterranean energy market for electricity requires extensive investments, institutional and legal reforms and a high level of regulatory accord among EU and MENA countries that is not attainable in the near future, we are in practice moving towards a ‘corridor-by-corridor’ approach rather than towards a fully-fledged EU-style system for Mediterranean RES-E exchanges.
- The various regional institutions and organisations involved in EU-MED energy cooperation are crucial for regulatory convergence at the regional level, and thus to enable Mediterranean RES-E trade initiatives.
- Since the Green Package allows Member States to use RES-E from non-EU countries for their EU-RES target compliance only if the green energy is physically imported into the EU and does not allow for statistical transfers between the Member States and the third countries, it may rather provide an incentive for enhanced North-South energy cooperation than offer us a ready-to-use framework or platform for RES-E exchanges. However, this may be understood as a rationale for regional market integration.
- If the EU were able to institutionalize energy relations with the three North African countries or any other country, it would rely on an extension of the Energy Community, or on a new ‘North African Energy Community’.