EU’s von der Leyen, Italian PM in Israel for energy talks

(EurActiv, 14 Jun 2022) European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi began meetings in Israel on Monday (13 June) as the EU seeks to wean itself off Russian fossil fuel imports.

Both leaders embarked on energy talks with Israel, which has turned from a natural gas importer into an exporter in recent years thanks to major offshore finds.

Von der Leyen was set to meet Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday, with talks expected to focus “in particular on energy cooperation”, a commission statement said.

On Monday, she met with Foreign Minister Yaid Lapid, who said in a statement that Israel’s ties with the EU were a “strategic asset”, and later met with Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, whose spokesperson told AFP Von der Leyen reiterated “the EU need for Israeli gas.”

Draghi, on his first Middle East trip since taking office last year, will also discuss energy and food security during his two-day trip, Italian media reported.

He was also set to meet with Bennett on Tuesday, the Israeli premier’s office said.

External link

EurActiv, 14 Jun 2022: EU’s von der Leyen, Italian PM in Israel for energy talks