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Italy PM to visit Algeria to guarantee gas, compensate France

January 21, 2023 at 10:56 am

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune (R) and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (L) on November 07, 2022 [Presidency of Algeria / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will visit Algeria early next week to ensure the continuation of the flow of gas. European countries are now preferring to rely on bilateral relations with Algeria after the failure of the agreement between Algeria and the European Union (EU).

After she came to power in Italy at the end of last October, and despite her affiliation with the extreme right, Giorgia Meloni chose Algeria as one of her first destinations abroad. This is explained by the significance of Algeria as a source of gas to Italy and as an importer of many materials from the Italian market. Algeria became vital to Italy after the Russian operation against Ukraine to guarantee gas, and Algeria turned into the third source of gas for Europe.

CEO of Eni Claudio Descalzi said in an interview last week that Italian gas supplies are safer next winter, adding that Italy will have enough gas in 2023 and 2024 without interruptions if it can increase imports from Algeria. Giorgia Meloni’s visit explains Rome’s keenness to ensure its share of gas.

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The prime minister is continuing the policy of her predecessor Mario Draghi, who paid two visits to Algeria during the last year and a half. Italy wants to deepen relations so that it becomes the main partner and replaces France and Spain in many Algerian sectors. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune also stated that he preferred Italy to France and Spain.

Given the deterioration of relations between Algeria and the EU, each country is working to improve its relations with Algeria to guarantee gas and a promising African market. France and then Spain are among the biggest losers in obtaining oil and gas, and European countries are betting heavily and unilaterally to strengthen relations with Algeria after the latter announced its intention to join the BRICS economic group.