Seven Italians in Algiers. Notwithstanding the looming government crisis, the Italian Prime Minister and six ministers travelled to Algeria on Monday to partake in the Fourth Algerian-Italian Intergovernmental Summit with their local counterparts.
- The visit was slated to last two days, but the political upheaval back home forced the Italian team to fly back in the evening.
- The Algerian and Italian governments struck a total of 15 agreements, memoranda of understanding, cooperation protocols and declarations.
- 300 Italian companies are involved in the process, said PM Draghi during a presser. Later in the day, 70 of them took part in a Business Forum to foster the economic partnership.
Energy was the centrepiece of the talks, as Algeria became Italy’s most important methane supplier due to Rome’s drive to diversify away from Russian gas. The summit testified to the “privileged partnership in the energy sector,” declared PM Draghi.
- In April, Rome struck a deal with Algiers to increase gas flows by 9 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year over the following years. That’s on top of the 21 yearly bcms that already flowed towards Italy through the TransMed pipeline.
- On Friday, Algeria upped the ante promising to deliver an extra four bcm in 2022, starting this week. Mr Draghi called Algeria’s effort “an acceleration” and anticipated “even more substantial supplies in the coming years.”
- Renewables, too, are part of the deal. Italian companies are investing heavily in Algerian renewable energy and green hydrogen to accelerate the energy transition and foster jobs and development.
Beyond energy. The remaining deals focus on a range of matters and aim to deepen the overarching cooperation between the two Mediterranean countries. They include:
- Infrastructures, such as roads, highways, bridges and ports, as well as digital assets and industrial development. By virtue of the deals, SMEs on both sides are slated to invest and collaborate across the board.
- Justice, such as efforts to share data and best practices and counter corruptions, as well as actions against radicalisation in prison and social reintegration of prisoners.
- Education and industrial know-how, featuring the collaborative participation of Algerian and Italian academic institutes and companies.
- International and Mediterranean cooperation, including on security, the African and Arab geopolitical spheres, the Maghreb, and the Lybian issue.
Growing ties. This was PM Draghi’s second trip to Algiers in 2022, during which both the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella visited each other’s countries. Building on top of decades of strategic partnerships, the countries are keen to expand cooperation.
- President Tebboune said he was “delighted to welcome [PM] Draghi for the second time. This testifies to our willingness to strengthen our relations of friendship and cooperation.” He added that talks had been “intense” in all areas.
- “The friendship between Italy and Algeria is essential to address the crises we face, from regional crises to the energy transition. We want to continue to work together for the prosperity of our companies, our citizens, and for the future of the Mediterranean,” said PM Draghi.