On Sunday, January 22, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrived in Algeria for a two-day visit. The two countries are trying to build a strategic partnership, and Italy is still trying to get less energy from Russia with the help of the gas-rich North African country.
Meloni’s arrival in Algeria was reported on Algerian official television, although there were neither images nor any further hoopla accompanying the announcement. Aimene Benabderrahmane, the Prime Minister, was the one who greeted her when she arrived. First, Meloni went to the Monument of Martyrs to place a wreath there, as is customary for visitors of her rank. The Algerians who fought and died for their country’s independence from France in 1962 are honored by the monument that stands on a hilltop overlooking the capital city.
In addition to this, the Italian head of state intended to pay a visit to an Italian navy ship that was docked in the port of Algiers. Algeria is now Italy’s primary source of energy, surpassing Russia in that role, and Italy is looking to strengthen its alliance with Algeria. On the other hand, it was reported that Meloni planned to discuss things like the construction of naval vessels, automobiles, and new businesses, which is a possible indication that the two countries plan to expand their current level of collaboration.
Meloni and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s most recent encounter took place in November in Sharm El-Sheikh, an Egyptian vacation town, on the periphery of a climate change conference. After then, a slew of other contracts and agreements need to be signed. It was unclear whether another energy-related agreement would be reached in the near future.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine, which disrupted global strategic and economic dynamics, brought a new and urgent dimension to the ties between Algeria and Italy, two countries that have long been dependent on Russian energy. The other countries that make up the European Union have also been frantically searching for alternatives to the energy supplied by Russia. Italy and Algeria hope to build on the steps taken by then-Prime Minister Mario Draghi last year to increase Algeria’s energy supply to Italy. An Algerian official stated that the two countries want to “go beyond that” goal as well.
“We want Italy to become a hub in Europe for Algerian gas,” you may say. “An intersection for other countries in the EU,” the Algerian ambassador to Rome, Abdelkrim Touahria, stated in an interview with the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero that was published on Saturday. An initial agreement that Draghi reached and signed last year would result in an additional 9 billion cubic meters of gas being transported over the Trans-Mediterranean pipeline by the years 2023 and 2024. After several months had passed, in the month of July, a deal worth $4 billion was finally reached between the firms Eni, which is an Italian energy company; Occidental; and Total.
Meloni was expected to be accompanied by a delegation from Italy, and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi was scheduled to be one of those in the delegation. Meloni’s trip to Algiers is the third one in less than a year by an Italian prime minister, although it will be a lot lower-key than the trip that her predecessor took there. Algeria’s official news agency, APS, called it “an opportunity to strengthen the Algiers-Rome axis” and “another step toward a truly strategic cooperation.”
Touahria, the Algerian ambassador in Rome, stated that the Italian oil company Eni and the Algerian oil business Sonatrach are also looking to the future together with initiatives such as oil and gas development in the southern Sahara. Meloni’s right-wing coalition won a national election in September, and it was likely that she would talk about immigration and migrant issues, which are important to the extreme right in Europe, while she was there.
It is common for people from North Africa, most commonly Tunisia and Algeria, to make their way to Italy on their way to find a fresh start away from the struggles they faced in their native countries, which may include war, poverty, or other forms of oppression.