Print version

Mediterranean transitions: risks and opportunities for the Italian and European foreign, energy and security policies in the Southern Neighbourhood

2023 - current

The war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and several initiatives to reshape regional and international partnerships and alliances have made the Southern Neighbourhood even more strategic for Italian and European interests. The urgency to diversify the energy supply (drawing on both fossil fuels and clean energy sources) has pushed Italy to strengthen old and create new partnerships with countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, as well as turning to countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, with the aim both of turning Italy into an energy hub, and of becoming autonomous from Russia. A reflexion on energy supply diversification, then, considers necessarily also the red Sea and takes into account the Gulf states, increasingly more interconnected with the Southern neighbourhood in both political and economic terms, as acknowledged by the recent European energy strategy.

The project focuses on the most recent energy and political reconfigurations involving actors of the area, with an eye to the identification of guidelines for an integrated approach able to respond to the priorities of the Italian and European foreign policies in the domains of “security” and “prosperity”. The research work is articulated over three modules. The first two modules will analyse the relationship between perspectives on cooperation and energy partnership and the evolution of geopolitical dynamics in the areas at hand. Furthermore, the modules will take into exam the necessity to propose models for energy partnerships alternative to those proposed by other actors, thereby promoting investments and cooperation aimed at local development, without there being negative effects on the governance and local development of partners. The third module, finally, will centre on the role of global actors within such dynamics. The results of the three modules will allow the identification of possible strategies for Italy and the EU.

The project is carried out in partnership with the Bourse & Bazaar Foundation.

Funding: Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo