Azerbaijan will supply electricity to the European Union through a new submarine cable, according to an agreement signed Saturday in Romania that aims to diversify the bloc’s resources in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We have decided to turn our backs on Russian fossil fuels and turn to our reliable energy partners,” Commission Chair Ursula von der Leyen said in Bucharest.
The financial and technical framework of the agreement was not specified in the press release published by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on the sidelines of a meeting between the various signatories.
It provides for the opening of the site in September 2023 for commissioning as soon as possible in 2029. The cable is 1,195 km long and almost completely immersed in the Black Sea, and the cable should connect Azerbaijan and Hungary through Georgia and Romania.
These four countries are parties to the agreement. Romania and Hungary, which are members of the European Union, benefit from the support of the European Commission.
“We are preparing to build the longest submarine electric cable. If you were younger, I would say you have to be rock and roll,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to start such a project.
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, the European Union has doubled down on its strategic partnerships with various producing countries in a bid to reduce its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.
EU President Ilham Aliyev assessed that this is “our contribution to European energy security” and “a new bridge between the EU and Azerbaijan.”
The cable represents “a new path full of opportunities” for Georgia, “a country with a European destiny” that can become an “energy hub,” according to Ursula von der Leyen.
The European Commission president added that it would provide electricity “to our neighbors like Moldova and Ukraine and contribute to the modernization of Ukraine’s energy system.”
The agreement covers other areas of cooperation, such as “new energy technologies”, “hydrogen production” or “expansion of transport infrastructure”, according to a press release issued by the Romanian presidency.
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