Event Reports

Key Geopolitical challenges for the EU: Energy & Defence

by Jeroen Kohls
The Greece & Cyprus Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung organized in co-operation with the Glafkos Clerides Institute an international conference on “Key geopolitical challenges for the EU: Energy & Defence” in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Thursday, 19 September 2019.
Regarding the current tensions between Turkey and the EU Member States Cyprus and Greece, the conference aimed at discussing the recent developments and outlining the latest challenges from different point of views. The EU is experiencing an increasing diversification of energy supplies as well as a growing demand for security cooperation, especially bearing in mind the growing turmoil in the Middle East.  An improvement of EU strategies in the fields of energy and defence is absolutely necessary.

In the energy sector the recent gas findings imply a technical, economical and geopolitical empowerment of Cyprus. At the same time, the newly elected government in Greece focuses on establishing the Eastern Mediterranean as a centre of energy. However, the economic potentials of the region cannot be thoroughly capitalised on without a solution for the Cyprus conflict. Innovative mechanisms like the creation of virtual trading points for natural gas could promote cooperation between long standing rivals such as Cyprus and Turkey, or Israel and Lebanon.

In the field of defence, the EU has to find a way to apply its mutual assistance clause in case of an “armed aggression on its territory” (Art. 42, Par. 7 TEU) regarding its member state Cyprus. The high complexity of modern threats makes it impossible for every country to act individually.

The cooperation between the EU member states in the energy and defence sector has never been as relevant as today. Instead of considering it as an area of conflict, the energy sector shall rather be seen as an opportunity for a strengthening in the cooperation between the EU and Turkey.

Jeroen Kohls

Jeroen Kohls bild

Senior Research Associate

jeroen.kohls@kas.de +81 3 6426 5041