Eastern Mediterranean Energy Leadership Summit

Greece will host the first annual Eastern Mediterranean Energy Leadership Summit, to be held in Athens on the first two days of October, an acknowledgement of its emerging role as a central player in the regional energy sector.

The event is organised by US think tank Transatlantic Leadership Network, the University of Piraeus – MSc in Energy: Strategy, Law & Economics of the Department of International & European Studies, and the founder and chairman of the Delphi Economic Forum, Symeon Tsomokos.

According to the organisers, the conference will bring together senior US government officials and energy business executives to discuss the opportunities for trade and geopolitical cooperation in the region.

During an interview with Greek news agency ANA, Transatlantic Leadership Network Senior Executive Vice President Sasha Toperich argued that Greece is emerging as a central player in the energy chessboard in the Eastern Mediterranean, and explained the reasons why it was chosen to host this energy conference.

“For us, this congress is not an isolated or piecemeal effort,” said Toperich and continued to say that “instead, we are seeking to establish the October summit as an annual energy institutional event, which will be accompanied by corresponding conferences in Washington, so that we can maintain a steady dynamic momentum.”

On why Greece was chosen to host the summit, out of so many other nations, Toperich said that he “nurtures a deep respect for the people of Greece,” and referred to his “associates, Symeon Tsomokos, founder of Tsomokos SA, Professor Athanasios Platias and Professor Aristotle Tziampiris of Piraeus University, who are great people and prominent professionals, who supported the idea from the beginning.”

Toperich noted how Greece “emerges as a major player in the foreign policy of the wider region, but also as a strong and reliable ally of the United States,” and on its economy he said “the country has successfully completed its fiscal adjustment program and is ready to write a new-even better chapter in its modern history.” He added that “recent energy finds in the eastern Mediterranean offer a huge opportunity to Greece. The benefits, therefore, of these new energy revenues will contribute to raising living standards and reducing unemployment,” underlined Toperich.

When asked what to expect from the 1st Annual Eastern Mediterranean Energy Leadership Summit in Athens, Toperich said “we want leaders to lead these discussions,” and elaborated that “we want to encourage the implementation of reforms in sectors that need it the most, so as to really tap into this dynamic potential of recent energy developments,” and further explained that “legislation and regulations need to be synchronised, so as to facilitate business development across the region,” and stressed that “marine disputes need to be addressed.”

“Greece can and must lead the way to the further development of renewable energy sources,” Toperich added, while “Greece’s participation in the Three Seas Initiative is another step in the right direction, which will contribute to the diversification of the energy market and to the enhancement of energy security in the wider region.

The Three Seas Initiative, also known as the Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea Initiative, is a forum of twelve states in the European Union, located in Central and Eastern Europe. The combined area connects the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea.

Toperich hailed the Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Greece as “an important milestone in the history of the two countries’ relationship,” and envisaged that “both sides should therefore use this platform as a basis for building a stronger bilateral relationship,” and that “there is great potential for deepening military cooperation, stronger educational and academic ties, and of course tourism and trade,” Toperich concluded.

Confirmed officials that will participate at the summit thus far, are:
Francis Fannon, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC and energy security expert, Joseph Uddo III, Deputy Assistant Secretary-Office of Market Development & Energy Innovation Office of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy, Samuel Buchan, Assistant to the US Energy Secretary & Special Advisor-Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, John Craig, former US Ambassador and Maanar Energy Group Executive, and Dr. Michael Haltzel, President of the Transatlantic Leadership Network.

The First Eastern Mediterranean Energy Leadership Summit will be held at the Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso in Athens, Greece, from October 1 – 2, 2019.