Greece could very well regain its footing within the EU should this materialize. It could also serve as the cooridor to Europe for oil and gas deposits within the contested Cyprus region, which was also recently wrestled away from the Turks and Russians by the EU.
On May 23, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Croatia signed a memorandum on cooperation in the implementation of projects concerning the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Ionic-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) in Tirana, the capital city of Albania. Montenegrin Foreign Minister Igor Luksic, Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdžija, Albanian Foreign Minister Aldo Bumçi and Croatian Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Joško Klisovic represented their respective countries at the meeting.
The TAP is 520 km long, which enables the transport of gas from the Caspian Sea through Greece, Albania, the Adriatic Sea and Italian region of Puglia into the Western Europe. The IAP is aimed at establishing the gas network connecting the Balkan’s countries, is to be 530 km long. The memorandum obliges the contracting parties to provide support for developing, funding and implementing the TAP and IAP projects, the government of Montenegro said, and preparing internal markets to receive gas from Azerbaijan and the Caspian region, as well as for the interconnection of the IAP with the TAP.
According to the government of Croatia, these two mutually linked projects represent one of the options of further diversification of European supply sources by transporting natural gas from the Caspian basin, which should upgrade the energy security in both Southeast Europe and the entire European continent. The signature of the memorandum confirmed the full political support for TAP and IAP by all six Southeast European countries. Now, the cosignatories expressed “that the Shah Deniz consortium would recognize the value of TAP and IAP when reaching the final decision on the new European gas route.” Though not a signatory to this memorandum, Greece welcomed recent developments related to the TAP.
Thanks to the project, “Greece will go from being a destination country of secondary importance to being a pan-European energy hub, and will draw an influx of an estimated EUR 1.5 billion in investment capital,” said Greek Foreign Ministry’s Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Peter Mihalos. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has been running a “diplomatic marathon” for the project’s participants and the Shah Deniz II consortium to resolve all pending issues, Mr. Mihalos added.