2018 OSCE Mediterranean Conference Malaga, Spain - 26th October 2018 , The Importance of Energy for Economic Growth and Cooperation in the Mediterranean

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Oct 26, 2018
 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

I would like to, first and foremost, take this opportunity to congratulate the Slovak Chairmanship of the Mediterranean Contact Group for its excellent work. We are aware of the importance that the Chairmanship attributes to the relationship between the OSCE and the Mediterranean.

I also wish to thank our Spanish colleagues for hosting this important annual event, while also expressing Malta’s gratitude to the Italian Chair-in-Office for its role in steering the OSCE the past year, as well as for its efforts in addressing the concerns of the Mediterranean.

As many are aware, Malta has for a long time advocated for the inclusion of the Euro-Mediterranean dimension in debates within the OSCE, in view of the several common security issues involved. As enshrined in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and in the Astana Declaration, security in Europe is interlinked with security in the Mediterranean.

Energy security is an important facet of overall security in the Mediterranean region, as well as a prerequisite for economic growth and development. The OSCE has a key role to play in supporting regional co-operation in this field. In this respect, ‘connectivity’ is a valued concept for being conducive to growth and stability, and for presenting opportunities for closer relations between States. Increased connectivity underpins growth in productivity and output.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Over the past few years, Malta has put in motion a strong plan which mirrors three important pillars of the Energy Union strategy, namely: sustainability, security of supply, and affordability.

This strategy has helped us move away from the use of heavy fuel oil for power generation, towards the use of LNG in gas-fired power plants. Because of this approach, our households and businesses are benefitting from competitive electricity rates, while customers are provided with enhanced security of supply.

Malta now has one of the lowest residential electricity prices in the European Union: 12.5 euros per 100 kilowatt-hours. This has, in turn, injected millions of euros into the national economy.

We are adopting a diversified energy mix, based on two gas-fired plants, an interconnector that links us to the European network, grid-connected renewable energy sources (mainly through photovoltaics), and an adequate level of emergency capacity through gasoil-fired plants.

We are also in the process of transiting from operating an isolated energy system. In 2015, we connected our electricity network to the European grid via Sicily. Meanwhile, a gas pipeline interconnection project between Malta and Italy will eliminate our isolation from the trans-European gas network and deliver natural gas more efficiently through a pipeline that is scheduled to be commissioned by 2024. These projects represent positive examples of regional cooperation in the Mediterranean in energy generation and sharing.

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Malta welcomes the political will among us, gathered here today, to promote energy and interconnectivity as a means of cultivating economic development and unity in the Mediterranean, in a mutually beneficial way.

My Government is open to any opportunity to explore further possibilities of future cooperation between partners from the Northern, Southern, and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean in this regard.

Thank you.