Italy and Spain works to enhance cooperation for strong bilateral relations: Maio

Italy & Spain are working on a treaty of enhanced cooperation for stronger bilateral relations, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Friday.

While taking on Twitter following the meeting, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares, Di Maio said both nations confirmed their strong condemnation of the Russian war and support for the Ukraine people.

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During the March, Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, said he had discussed with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez the idea of building a gas pipeline between the two nations as part of plans to wean Europe off Russian gas.

Italy, which sources about 40% of gas supplies from Russia, has been scrambling to find alternatives and diversify its supply mix after the invasion of Ukraine.

Italy, which sources about 40% of gas supplies from Russia, has been scrambling to find alternatives and diversify its supply mix following the invasion of Ukraine.

Spain has the largest regasification capacity in Europe, but transporting the gas into Europe across the Pyrenees has been a problem because of bottlenecks.

In an attempt to cut its reliance on Russia, the Draghi government has signed deals in recent weeks to boost imports from several African nations.

Under a deal with Algeria, Sonatrach will gradually raise flows in the Transmed pipeline starting this year and reach 9 billion cubic metres of extra gas per year by 2023-24.

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An Italian foreign ministry source denied press reports of tension between Rome and Madrid over fears higher flows to Italy could have a knock-on effect on supplies to Spain.

Meanwhile, relations between Spain and Algeria soured after Madrid moved closer to Morocco’s position on Western Sahara. However, former Algerian energy executives and officials said the nation was unlikely to use gas as a point of pressure.

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