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Watch: Roberta Metsola Sceptical Of Azerbaijan Replacing Russian Gas, Warns Against ‘Depending On Autocratic Regimes’ 

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European Parliament President Roberta Metsola has sounded caution over turning to Azerbaijan as an alternative to Russian energy, arguing that the EU shouldn’t “depend on autocratic regimes in order to get our energy supply”.

After the European Parliament called for a full embargo on Russian energy imports, Lovin Malta asked Metsola in an interview whether she views energy-rich Azerbaijan as a potential alternative source of gas.

However, she voiced skepticism about this, arguing that the EU should instead look at the likes of Spain and Portugal, as well as North African countries.

“Spain and Portugal are energy islands, which means they have their own supply but don’t give it to others; we must see if there’s a possibility to create links to Spain and Portugal,” she said. “For those countries who find themselves looking at third countries, we’re looking at Algeria, Egypt… North Africa is crucial.”

“If you ask me, for the European Parliament, I don’t want to go from one unreliable partner to another and that must be our goal.”

“What has to be the solution is that our energy union means we aren’t dependent on autocratic regimes in order to get our energy supply.”

Azerbaijan’s state oil company Socar is part of the Electrogas consortium which runs the Delimara power station and is in charge of providing the power station with LNG.

It has proven to be extremely controversial, particularly after one of its shareholders, Yorgen Fenech, was in 2019 charged with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The Nationalist Party, which Metsola forms part of, has called for the deal to be scrapped. 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, prompting a wave of sanctions from the West, Azerbaijan has emerged as a potential alternative source of gas.

During a recent visit to the nation, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said she hopes the Trans Adriatic Pipeline will boost its exporting capacity from around 8 billion cubic metres per year to 10 bcm.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, the EU wants to double the capacity of this corridor to 20 bcm a year, as well as turn to Western African nations like Nigeria, Senegal and Angola.

Cover photo: Main photo: EP President Roberta Metsola, Inset: Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev 

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Do you think the EU should wean itself off Russian energy? 

READ NEXT: Watch: We Are At War, Roberta Metsola Says When Asked About Sporting And Cultural Russian Boycotts

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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