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EU Urges End To Algeria-Spain Standoff


Nabila Massrali, EU spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has called for a return to the Friendship Treaty between Algeria and Spain as a dispute over Western Sahara adds another serious complication to European gas supply.

  • Yesterday, Algiers severed ties with Madrid over Spanish plans to recognise Moroccan autonomy plans for Western Sahara.
  • Massrali said the situation is an "extremely worrying" development for the "important partner of the EU" in North Africa.
  • The Energy Information Administration: "Spain imports natural gas from Algeria through two undersea pipelines—the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline and the Medgaz pipeline. In 2016, pipeline imports from Algeria accounted for 42% of total natural gas imports."
  • Algeria is a significant gas exporter to Europe but diplomatic obstacles, production constraints, and close links with Moscow make the North African state an imperfect supplier.
  • Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune visited Rome last month to sign a deal to increase gas flows to Italy via the Transmed pipeline.
  • Aljazeera: "Ultimately, Algeria, a country which prioritises foreign policy independence, is attempting to strike a delicate balance in boosting energy exports to EU countries while maintaining its defence relationship and strategic partnership with Moscow."
  • Riccardo Fabiani: “Algeria wants to be heard and taken into consideration by its European counterparts...."
  • It is unlikely that Algiers will want to terminally damage its reputation as a reliable gas supplier but may see the opportunity presented by the European gas crisis to exert leverage over Spain to oppose Moroccan plans in Western Sahara.

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