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Prime Minister Golob at EU-MED9 summit: European agreement to cap unreasonable gas prices is vital

Prime Minister Dr Robert Golob attended the ninth summit of national leaders of the EU-MED9 grouping, held in Alicante, Spain, on Friday, 9 December.

The leaders of the nine Mediterranean EU Member States discussed the impact of the war in Ukraine, energy security, the response to the most pressing economic challenges, and the strengthening of cooperation in the Mediterranean. The prime minister highlighted the need for a European agreement to cap high natural gas prices, and the importance of solidarity when it comes to energy security.

“It is always good to be among friends and to meet like-minded people. The summit in Alicante was very much one of those days, and we were able to reach important agreements without opposition. If you are like-minded and looking in the same direction, solutions can be quick and easy,” Dr Golob said at the start of the joint press conference.

In light of the upcoming December meeting of the European Council, the MED9 leaders had a particular focus on high energy prices. Dr Golob highlighted the urgency of a European agreement: “If we fail to reach an agreement next week to cap unreasonable gas prices, we can count on the markets responding quickly and unfavourably. This we simply cannot afford: our task is to act.”

He added that the Mediterranean has great potential, and can help the countries of central Europe reduce their dependency on Russian gas: “The opportunities are here right now. We have to take them. One such opportunity is pushing investment in renewables, in solar and wind. The Mediterranean has plenty of both.”

The MED9 leaders were unanimous in their view that the EU cannot be dependent on countries that threaten energy security, and needs to work on this with coordination and solidarity. The energy crisis has additionally highlighted the need for strengthened cooperation with the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood, who have also been impacted by the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. In its discussions with them Slovenia will endeavour to strengthen economic cooperation, where investment in alternative energy sources is the key. The Mediterranean, in particular the countries of north Africa, can contribute much to energy diversification. Slovenia has thus recently decided to sign an agreement on supplying natural gas from Algeria.