The EU is committed to developing the Association Agreement with Algeria
The Maghrebian Economist | 13th March 2023
By KG/ AGENCIES
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced on Sunday that Brussels is sticking to the association agreement with Algeria. While stressing that the “association council” between the two parties was “broken”, due to the recent crisis with Spain. Which supported the autonomy plan for the Sahara, an issue that raises a dispute between Morocco and Algeria.
Mr. Borrell, who started a two-day visit to Algeria, said: “The Association Agreement between the European Union and Algeria is our cornerstone with a very important neighbour. We believe that this agreement contains the necessary elements, whether legal or institutional, to achieve our common objectives, including those compatible with the interests of both parties. »
Regarding the trade part of the agreement, Mr. Borrell said that the union’s exports to Algeria have decreased by 45% since 2015 and that the trade balance is in favor of Algeria.
He continued: “If we include hydrocarbons in exports, we believe there is huge unrealized potential in this area. And to exploit it, we need to improve the implementation of the current agreement. In particular, the rules stipulated in the agreement must be fully respected without discrimination. »
He added: “We are ready to listen to concrete proposals, according to the rules stipulated in the agreement and on the basis of what we are already doing with other partners”.
Algeria had expressed its willingness to review the association agreement with the European Union for considerations linked to the failure of the agreement, more than 20 years old, to keep pace with its aspirations to diversify its economy and increase its export capacity.
Regarding the Algerian accusation of Madrid "to obstruct" the convening of the Association Council between Algeria and the European Union, by using the rule of unanimity, Borrell pointed out that the next convening of the Council of association is, in fact, currently "suspended".
Energy and investments
In this regard, it should be noted that Algeria is one of the main sources on which Spain depends for gas. And its contractual obligations with the Spanish side are estimated at 10.5 billion cubic meters, supplied by the “Medgaz” gas pipeline, which directly connects the two countries.
Regarding Algeria’s role in supporting energy security in Europe, Mr. Borrell said that Algeria “is a major and reliable partner for the European Union in the field of energy and natural gas. It therefore plays an important role in securing the European energy supply”.
Furthermore, he underlined that European investments in the Algerian energy sector are “the most important”. Because the efforts made in Europe for the sustainable diversification of our sources of gas supply, as well as the new law on hydrocarbons in Algeria, will contribute to attracting new investments.
In addition, Mr. Borrell explained that the European Union ’s financial support is focused on renewable energies, energy efficiency and hydrogen. Explaining that Algeria has "an excellent potential in these areas, which are still underused". And thus expressing Europe’s desire to mobilize technology and capital to support its development in Algeria.