International Energy Forum

Mediterranean Energy 2020

Energy Security in the Mediterranean Region

Split, Croatia, 24.07.2020, Hotel Cornaro


What Are We Going to Talk About?

Position of the Mediterranean...

...in the context of energy, geopolitical, economic, security and climate situation.

The First Panel

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has faced its greatest challenge in modern history, while the public health crisis has instigated an economic and energy crisis. The world has faced its greatest challenge ever since the time when fossil fuels have enabled the Industrial revolution and the transportation revolution and rapid development of national economies.

The Second Panel

In the second panel we will try to understand how the matrix of energy relations is changing the power dynamics between the states, in the world of flammable political tensions emerging involving Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Libya, Israel and powerful forces like the European Union, the United States, and Russia.

The Third Panel

In the third panel, we will discuss how climate change affects the region and the efforts that the EU makes in order to support the region that is expected to become hotter and drier.

Energy can be a token of prosperity, and the Mediterranean region has an untapped potential to become a major energy hub and provider of clean energy.

Miguel Arias Cañete, former EU Energy Commissioner

The There Panels


Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has faced its greatest challenge in modern history, while the public health crisis has instigated an economic and energy crisis. The world has faced its greatest challenge ever since the time when fossil fuels have enabled the Industrial revolution and the transportation revolution and rapid development of national economies. Nowadays, energy economics and black gold create deep divisions and changes worldwide, but especially in Europe, which is heavily dependent on imported energy which comes from countries outside the EU. The key question of the entire economic recovery is whether in 2020, we will see a continuation of the creation of a new global disbalance of crude oil supply and demand which will slow down global growth, while the protectionism that has emerged will have a negative impact on small countries, especially in the Mediterranean. The “new normal” is that cycles of pandemics will determine cycles in energy economics and in the economy at large. In the history of civilization, all pandemics have brought about change. The exit from the 2020 energy and economic crisis is possible by contemplating a turnaround in the production and consumption of energy sources.

In this panel, we shall talk about:

  • Energy and economic crisis as a chance for a turnaround and a new beginning
  • Energy transition from unsustainable towards sustainable energy sources
  • Importance of transport routes, crude oil refinery and storage capacities
  • Concentration of political power, political and economic instability, and the creation of new interest blocs
  • Strategy of decarbonization
  • Hydrogen and hydrogen technologies
  • European Union policy regarding the 2020 energy and economic crisis and ensuring of energy security
  • Risk management in the wake of the energy and economic crisis and economic safe havens
  • Diversification of energy and economic risks

This panel will feature representatives of the academia, business people (companies), as well as energy policymakers.

The environment in which the gas sector operates internationally is becoming politicized. There have been many milestones in recent years that are demonstrating new alliances in the field of energy security. Gas exports from this region are an important element of the EU’s gas security-of-supply architecture. The East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) was established in 2018, comprising of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel, and with participation of Italy, Palestine, and the United States. Soon after the US adopted the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, with Greece, Cyprus and Israel at the core of the new US strategy in the region.

Turkey has sent several drilling ships to operate in the zone, which is according to maritime law Cypriot, but disputed by Ankara, and got strong reactions by the EU, the United States, and Russia. At the same time, Turkey, Serbia and Bulgaria have launched the Turkish Stream in the beginning of the year, while the MoU on East Mediterranean pipeline has been signed by Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel. Turkey and Libya officially approved a contentious maritime deal separating what will be the two countries’ respective exclusive economic zone while  Greece seeks energy independence from Turkey and Russia by investing in LNG.

Are energy related agreements in this region vulnerable to deterioration in relations between the governments? What can the EU do to keep the stability of future gas exports from the region to Europe? What are the main arms for Euro-Mediterranean energy cooperation? What is the future of the East Mediterranean pipeline?  Will price rather than geopolitics decide market dominance in the region? Should Middle East countries focus more on intra-regional energy trade? The panel will explore these and other relevant questions.

Climate change is already severely impacting the southern part of the Mediterranean, which is in addition under pressure of significant increase in the population. This contributes to the over-exploitation of already scarce water resources and to the increase in energy demand for which supply is not always ensured. There is a high probability that by 2025, 80 to 100 million people will be exposed to water shortages. The effects will also result in human welfare issues and lower economic indicators. Increasing resilience to climate change is therefore important both for the Mediterranean countries’ governments and their international partners.

These countries are richly endowed with solar and wind energy resources, but have high electricity generation costs and lack of electricity interconnections between the countries. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, southern Mediterranean countries adopted post-2020 plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and set targets for deployment of renewables. However, these commitments are largely conditional on international climate finance support being provided. With a contribution of €20.2 billion in 2016, the EU is the world’s largest contributor of climate finance to developing countries.

Europe could scale-up its climate financing in the southern Mediterranean, but should it be linked to the implementation of n energy reforms? Would large-scale deployment of renewable energy allow southern Mediterranean countries to meet their increasing energy demand? What kind of economic and political benefits would Europe reap from development of sustainable energy in the south of the region? What are the  main barriers to the private sector’s engagement in those countries’ renewable energy sectors? Why had previous European initiatives in this area fail? What can southern Mediterranean countries learn from Croatian national energy agenda?

Key note speakers


Aleksandar Kovačević

Aleksandar Kovacevic started his professional career in 1986 with the Federal Productivity Institute of the former Yugoslavia, having graduated with a degree in energy economics from Belgrade University. He is principal author of the energy–poverty analysis ‘Stuck in the Past’ (UNDP, 2004), co-author of the Western Balkans energy policy survey (IEA/UNDP, 2008) and the Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (PEIR) for Serbia and Montenegro (World Bank, 2003), and author of a number of papers, lectures, and media contributions. For over 20 years he has provided strategic advice, complex energy efficiency solutions, and emergency situation assistance to major institutional, financial, and private clients including assistance to UN OCHA to coordinate rapid reconstruction of the Serbian energy infrastructure after the Kosovo War. He was affiliated to PlanEcon before 1992, project manager for Tagarnrog Development project in Russia (1992–8), and a contributor to the Black Sea and Central Asia panel at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University. Aleksandar is a member of the Advisory Board to the Russian Power Conference since 2002 and ongoing, and of the UNECE Group of Experts in Sustainable Energy, as well as a regular consultant to the World Bank and contributor to the Oil and Gas Economy and Law (OGEL) network.

Ariel Cohen

Ariel Cohen is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law. Cohen currently serves as the Director of the Energy, Growth, and Security Program (EGS) at the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC). The International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) is an independent, nonprofit research and education organization founded in 1993 to promote tax reform and public-private initiatives to improve the investment climate in transition and developing economies. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council within their Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Claude Turmes

On 20 June 2018, Claude Turmes was appointed Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructures within the coalition government formed by the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and the Green Party (déi gréng), replacing Camille Gira who had passed away on 16 May 2018. After the legislative elections of 14 October 2018, Claude Turmes was appointed Minister for Energy and Minister for Spatial Planning on 5 December 2018 in the coalition government formed by the DP, the LSAP and déi gréng. Claude Turmes was a Member of the European Parliament from June 1999 to June 2018. He was the vice president of the parliamentary group of the Green Party in the European Parliament and was a member of the Committee on Environment, Health and Consumer Protection as well as a member of the Committee on Industry, Energy, Telecom and Research. He was the rapporteur of a large number of European directives, in particular on renewable energies, energy efficiency, the electricity market and climate plans, as well as on the European lobby register. From 2004 to 2018, he was the chairman of EUFORES (European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources), the Interparliamentary association for the promotion of renewable energies in Europe.

Prof. Eicke R. Weber

Profesor Eicke R. Weber has been active in solar energy research for many years. Having received his qualification as professor of physics in 1983 from the University of Cologne, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, for twenty years. In the field of material science, Weber made a name for himself worldwide with his work on defects in silicon and III-V semiconductors such as gallium arsenide and gallium nitride. He was especially interested in how metallurgical silicon with a certain amount of impurities could be used to produce high efficiency solar cells. In 2006 he returned to Germany to assume the position of Institute Director of Fraunhofer ISE, until his retirement in 2016. During his time as director of Fraunhofer ISE, Weber was also professor of physics/solar energy in the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics as well as the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg.

Julian Popov

Julian Popov is chairman of the Board of Directors of BPIE. He is a fellow of the European Climate Foundation and currently leads the South East Europe Grid Initiative which catalyses high level energy policy cooperation among countries in wider South East Europe, including Turkey and the Western Balkans. Julian is a former Minister of the Environment of Bulgaria and currently advises the President of Bulgaria on energy security issues. He is the founding CEO and currently a board member of the New Bulgarian University, former chairman and currently a Board Member of the Bulgarian School of Politics and co-founder of the Tunisian School of Politics. He is member of the Advisory Board of GridTech, a member of the Advisory Board of the BETTER Project, a founding member of the Governing Board of the Sofia Platform, a member of the Steering Committee of the Grantmakers East Forum and Honorary Treasurer and Director of the UK charity Friends of Bulgaria. Julian is the author of two books and writes regularly on current affairs and climate and energy policy.

A Word by the Founder of the INTERENEF

The focus of the 4. International Energy Forum is energy economics in the Mediterranean region.

The Mediterranean is a particular cradle of civilization. The French civilization historian Fernand Braudel sees the Mediterranean primarily as a given physical space (semiotics of space). In this space, actors have shaped civilizations, with an emphasis on the Western civilization. In the history of globalization, the Mediterranean is a space in which the first globalization took place. This is a space of trade and exchange. Fernand Braudel confirms such a notion in his book Les jeux de l’échange.

Nowadays, the Mediterranean, especially its eastern part, is a relevant geopolitical and energy focal point. For this reason, it is of interest to global actors, states, international oil and other energy corporations, in the context of establishment of control over energy resources. The consequences of the idea of control are armed conflicts, state deconstruction, and forces migrations.

The aim of the 4. International Energy Forum Mediterranean Energy 2020 is to draw attention to the Mediterranean as a space and world macro-region that is abundant with various energy sources, on the “exchange game” and testing of new energy technologies, with a look at strategic thinking in the fields of energy economics, climate change, and renewable energy sources, including European Union and Croatian energy strategies.

Prof. Anđelko Milardović

The Last Forum



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