(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) The White House has revoked its support for the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, a 1,900km project that will transport natural gas from an Israeli-owned offshore drilling site to Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus, The Gatestone Institute reported.
The Biden administration discussed the decision with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan but apparently did not include the pipeline’s main beneficiaries—Israel, Greece, Egypt or Cyprus—in the talks.
The White House said the EastMed pipeline will harm its “climate goals” and escalate tensions in the region without serving viable economic interests, Keep Talking Greece reported.
Erdoğan has opposed the EastMed pipeline because he claims that it travels through Turkish waters and that the Mediterranean’s natural resources belong, in part, to Turkey.
Several commentators have noted that the Biden administration’s decision undercuts European options for natural gas procurement while further empowering Russia.
The EastMed pipeline, with an estimated completion date of 2025, could have supplied 10 percent of Europe’s demand for natural gas.
“This is a disastrous decision that imperils European security and opens the door for further Russian energy hegemony in European gas markets,” opinion contributor Ariel Cohen wrote for The Hill.
The Trump administration opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and supported the EastMed pipeline.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the project’s approval in January 2020.
“We are free countries, free-market countries, working together and working to create energy infrastructures,” he said. “This is when better security follows. If we do it properly, we will attract investment and maximize these resources.”
Richard Goldberg, who served on Trump’s National Security Council, called the decision a “strategic mistake” and suggested that it may embolden Erdoğan, Ekathimerini reported.
“If Erdogan perceives…appeasement by Washington, he will simply double down on his gunboat diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean and play the role of spoiler in the region,” Goldberg said.