- North African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia can help Europe meet its carbon emissions targets and strengthen its position in the face of fierce competition from China for economic and political influence.
- By encouraging European investment in renewable energy, the European Green Deal can increase local workforce opportunities, promote development, and help stabilise migration, enhancing stability in the region.
- The EU should promote green hydrogen projects in Morocco and Tunisia. These would contribute to its climate neutrality goals and develop both European industrial leadership and local economies.
- The EU should also promote new electrical interconnections across the Mediterranean, to foster an integrated electricity market.
- Morocco and Tunisia should become official “Green Partners” of the EU. This would help catalyse joint action and ease those countries’ green transitions – especially that of Tunisia, which needs particular help building additional capacity.
An explicit goal of the European Green Deal is to strengthen the EU’s global leadership by establishing environment, energy, and climate partnerships. In ECFR’s new policy brief, Power surge: How the European Green Deal can succeed in Morocco and Tunisia, ECFR Visiting Fellow Amine Bennis explores the EU’s opportunities for increasing its influence in its southern neighbourhood through the Green Deal. Bennis discusses the EU’s current relationship with Morocco and Tunisia on energy issues, identifying opportunities for the EU to pursue its strategic interests and positively contribute to the green energy transition in Morocco and Tunisia.
The author identifies Chinese alternatives in green technology and Chinese investment potential as a particular threat to Europe’s strategic interests within the region.
Amine Bennis, ECFR visiting fellow, states,
“China is becoming a leader in many areas of renewable energy, and it will be able to offer this expertise to North African countries at a good price. Europe should acknowledge that North Africa is an area of strategic importance, a place in which being overtaken by China will not only harm its climate neutrality goals but will also stop it from locking in the political partnerships it needs to support political reforms and a democratic transition in the region.”
About the author
Amine Bennis is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and has substantial experience of working on energy and infrastructure transactions and policy initiatives with governments and the private sector, with a geographical focus on the southern and eastern Mediterranean region. A graduate of the Universities of Paris II Panthéon-Assas, Sciences Po Paris, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, he lectures at the Universities of Paris II Panthéon-Assas and Montpellier in France, and regularly publishes on topics at the intersection of development finance, international security, and geopolitics. He writes here in a personal capacity.
The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This report, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its author.
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is a pan-European think-tank that aims to conduct cutting-edge independent research in pursuit of a coherent, effective, and values-based European foreign policy. With a network of offices in seven European capitals, over 60 staff from more than 25 different countries and a team of associated researchers in the EU 27 member states, ECFR is uniquely placed to provide pan-European perspectives on the biggest strategic challenges and choices confronting Europeans today. ECFR is an independent charity and funded from a variety of sources. For more details, please visit: www.ecfr.eu.
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