Despite the European Union’s efforts towards more integrated strategy in the energy sector, the relationship between Southern Mediterranean Countries (SMC) and the EU are still based on a nation-by-nation bilateral approach. Within this context, the EU has mostly focused on harmonizing the legislation and policies in the region to create the conditions for an efficient Euro-Mediterranean energy market.
According to Simone Tagliapietra, Bruegel, this approach has proved unproductive, as SMC countries do not have enough incentives to meet EU standards without a prospect of accession. The author proposes instead to support these states with new investments for meeting their increasing needs in energy consumption terms. This could be done by means of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) creating ‘Sustainable Energy Funds’ in order to improve investment in the sustainable energy sector. An increased competitiveness in this field would help these countries meet their internal demands without reducing their exports to Europe. Such a prospect would safeguard the EU’s security of gas supply while supporting neighbor states’ development and economic stability.