12 May 2021

Road to Shade Med, third webinar on “The new role of the Mediterranean as an energy and commercial hub”

The Road to Shade Med 2021 (Shared Awareness and Deconfliction in the Mediterranean), the annual conference on the Mediterranean organised by the Operation EunavforMed Irini, continued with another event. The third meeting, in cooperation with the Catholic University of the S. Heart in Milan and CRISSMA (Center of Research on the Southern System and the Wider Mediterranean), dealt with “The new role of the Mediterranean as an energy and commercial hub“.

Opening the proceedings, the Rector of the Catholic University of the S. Heart Professor Franco Anelli immediately addressed the conference by reminding that “The Mediterranean basin has a new centrality”. This concept was also taken up by Professor Paolo Sellari, Director of the Master in Geopolitics and Global Security at La Sapienza University of Rome, who stressed how the Mediterranean has in some ways “changed its role, becoming a transit sea between oceans”.

And like any place of transit, the Med basin also has its social and economic issues, which must be addressed without taking partisan positions. As Director of Public Affairs at ENI Lapo Pistelli warns, urging people to avoid “a too good or a too bad narrative on Mediterranean”.

The same impartiality insisted on by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini, Op. Commander of Operation EUNAVFORMED IRINI, who explained: “We work to guarantee stability and security in the central Mediterranean remaining equidistant from all the involved parties. It has been pointed out that the increase in the costs of shipping insurance has led to the increase in the prices of common goods in Libya. Here we see once again a clear connection between security and economy”.

The economy is absolutely key in interpreting events. And if Arera’s Director of External Relations Fabio Tambone thinks “it’s time to start investing in Africa again”, the Director of CRISSMA Center Professor Riccardo Redaelli stressed that “the Mediterranean is not a place exclusively for tensions, conflicts and from which threats to Europe are made. On the contrary, it is also a fundamental hub of international maritime traffic and an important energy hub”.

An opportunity that Europe must be able to seize, as Secretary General of the European External Action Service Stefano Sannino explained: “The EU and the South Mediterranean share many challenges and interests. But the gap between the two shores remains wide. We need to engage more on energy, connectivity and trade. And on stability. EU has to face many challenges in close cooperation with Southern Mediterranean countries: security, recovery, climate change”.


For more information about the Road to Shade Med follow this link

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