Nine EU states agree to work on Mediterranean green energy hub

France launches the first-stage construction of the floating wind power project in Le Barcarès, France, March 5, 2023. /CFP

Energy ministers from nine European Union (EU) countries agreed on Thursday to turn the Mediterranean region into a green energy hub.

At their meeting in Valletta, the capital of Malta, the ministers of the so-called MED9 alliance, including Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, signed the Malta Statement, a joint declaration aimed at facilitating renewable energy investments in southern Europe.

The alliance will prioritize the development of offshore renewable energy sources, solar PV systems, the production and transportation of renewable hydrogen, the creation of storage solutions and the construction of new energy interconnections between EU and non-EU Mediterranean countries.

Miriam Dalli, Malta's minister for the environment, energy, and enterprises led the meeting, which was also attended by EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.

"We all recognize that investments in renewable energy infrastructure are not simply a forward-looking commitment with long-term objectives. These investments are the best solution to our current challenges," Dalli said in a statement.

The Med9 group agreed to set up a steering committee to oversee the work on the green hub.

They also called for the European Commission to look into the potential of creating green energy corridors that would link Europe with renewables-rich North African countries and to prioritize EU funding for the development of key Mediterranean interconnections.

The discussions in Valletta took place on the first anniversary of launching the bloc's REPowerEU plan, which aims to accelerate the deployment of renewables and to increase investment in energy efficiency throughout the EU.

"The Commission remains ready to assist where needed to help the Mediterranean region become a green energy hub," Simson said in a statement.