This week’s fifth ministerial meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) confirmed France as the forum’s eight member alongside the seven founding members: Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.
As with Italy, France’s membership is linked to the two countries’ ‘national champion’ energy firms – TotalEnergies and Eni – being key players in East Med gas exploration. Not only are TotalEnergies and Eni the key players offshore Cyprus (MEES, 24 December 2020), but UN security council member France has been more willing than its Italian counterpart to push back against Turkish attempts to stymie exploration in internationally-recognized Cyprus waters (MEES, 9 October 2020). As such. France’s membership will further strengthen the perception of the EMGF as a ‘not-Turkey’ forum (MEES, 25 September 2020). (CONTINUED - 184 WORDS)