The move strengthens Russia and Turkey’s stranglehold on Europe’s energy supply
The Biden White House has withdrawn U.S. support from a pipeline project designed to deliver Israeli natural gas to Europe, reversing a decision taken by President Donald Trump’s administration.
The 1,180-mile undersea pipeline project from Israel to southern Europe, set to be completed by 2025, will ease Europe’s dependence on Russia and Turkey. These two countries have a stranglehold on the continent’s energy supply.
“The United States is no longer supporting the construction of EastMed gas pipeline project as Washington’s interest is now switching to renewable energy sources, according to a State Department statement,” the Euractiv, a Brussels based news website, reported recently.
By rescinding the U.S. backing for the Israel-Europe pipeline, the Biden administration is bowing down to the pressure from Turkey’s Erdogan regime, which has been angered for being left out of the lucrative energy project. “Several Greek media reported that Joe Biden’s move politically winks at Turkey, who since the beginning has opposed the EastMed deal as it was bypassing it,” the European news outlet noted.
On Wednesday, Israeli TV channel i24News reported the Biden White House decision:
Washington no longer supports the proposed EastMed gas pipeline from Israel to Europe, according to a Jerusalem diplomatic source.
The Biden administration reportedly informed Israeli, Greek, and Cypriot officials in recent weeks of its change in attitude.
“I believe this is related to Turkish domestic politics. The United States is showing that it is attributing huge significance to Turkey,” Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, an expert on Turkey at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told i24NEWS.
Turkey urges that it should be part of the pipeline project amid claims over natural gas in the east Mediterranean.
“This is an open-check for the next potential government in Turkey which may replace [President Tayyip Erdogan] in 2023, which means the US is… calculating the next steps which they will have to deal with in the day after Erodgan.”
Erdogan welcomed the Biden administration’s move, reinforcing his position as a power player in Europe. The Turkish president thuggishly declared that any future eastern Mediterranean “gas project must include Turkey,” the Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported. “This business cannot be done without Turkey. Because if [gas] is to be transferred to Europe from here, it will only happen through Turkey,” Erdogan said Tuesday.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is another beneficiary of President Biden’s decision. Moscow is about to finish 760-mile Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will allow direct Russian gas supply to Germany and other western European countries. More than 40 percent of gas exported to European Union countries comes from Russia.
In July 2021, President Biden approved the Nord Stream 2 project — co-owned by German energy giants and Russian state-run companies, overturning another strategic Trump-era policy. The move was hailed as a significant diplomatic victory for outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
President Biden’s decision comes as Europe faces an ever more belligerent Russia. Moscow has “almost completed” the military buildup of around 127,000 troops that could invade Ukraine, the Ukrainian government warned earlier this week. On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed with the Ukrainian assessment, admitting that Russia could attack Ukraine “on very short notice.”
With the lion’s share of European energy supply firmly in the hands of Putin, Europe has so far failed to stand up to the ongoing Russian military build-up, further emboldening Moscow.
It is worth recalling President Trump’s warning at the 2018 NATO summit in Brussels when he called Germany ‘captive’ to Russia over the gas supply. “Germany is captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said, referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. “They pay billions of dollars to Russia and we have to defend them against Russia,” he prophetically added.DONATE
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