European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Israel with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to discuss supplies of Israeli natural gas to Europe. By getting more gas from Israel, the European Union wants to reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies because of the war in Ukraine.
For example, there is talk of the construction of a gas pipeline through the Mediterranean to Greece and Cyprus. Israel can also export more gas to Egypt, where it is then processed into liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is then shipped to Europe. Von der Leyen will later also go to Egypt to discuss LNG supplies to Europe.
Von der Leyen said in a speech in southern Israel that Moscow is using Europe’s dependence on Russian gas as a means of blackmail. Russia has already turned off the gas tap to several European countries. “The Kremlin’s behaviour only reinforces our resolve not to depend on Russian fossil fuels anymore. We are therefore looking at ways to increase energy cooperation with Israel,” said von der Leyen.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said after meeting Draghi that Europe needs energy and that his country has gas in fields off its coast. “That’s good news for Israel, Italy and Europe,” Bennett said. Israel is already increasing gas production from offshore fields for delivery to Europe. The country has large gas reserves off the coast.