The Greek parliament ratified on Friday, May 15, the agreement for the gas pipeline “EastMed” after the country’s Ministry of Environment had submitted the agreement in the form of a bill entitled “Ratification of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Republic of Cyprus, the State of Israel, the Hellenic Republic and the Italian Republic on a Pipeline System for the transport of natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to the European markets”. On January 2, 2020 the energy ministers of Greece, Israel, and Cyprus signed the final agreement for the pipeline project, pending ratification by the countries’ respective parliaments.
EastMed is a 1,900km natural gas pipeline project that will connect the gas reserves of the eastern Mediterranean with Greece. The pipeline will have an initial capacity to transport some ten billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y) of gas to Greece and Italy and other southeast European countries. The capacity is expected to be increased to a maximum of 20 bcm/y in the second phase. The 7 billion dollar project is being developed by IGI Poseidon, in a 50:50 joint venture between the Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) and Edison International Holdings.
In the parliamentary session held to ratify the bill in Athens on May 15, the lawmakers of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) denounced and voted against the accord, exposing the content of the agreement and the Euro-Atlantic myths that accompany it. The KKE highlighted that the legislation entangles the nations and their peoples even deeper in competition designed to boost the profitability of business groups. The Social Democratic Party MERA25 headed by the former SYRIZA finance minister, Ioannis Varoufakis, also voted against the agreement.
Speaking from the floor of the parliament, Giorgos Marinos, a member of the Chief Executive and Political Committee of the KKE’s Central Council, noted: “In practice, it has been shown that the [plan’s] strategy serves the interests of capital manifested both in the attack against workers’ and people’s rights and in the dangerous involvement of the country in imperialist plans. Part of this policy is the agreement under discussion for the EastMed pipeline for the transport of natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe, through Greece and Italy.”
Marinos continued: “The explanatory memorandum of the bill and the positions of the rapporteurs of the other parties conceal the real elements of the competition for energy resources and pipelines. [Namely], there are two ongoing imperialist wars in the region, in Syria and Libya. In the Eastern Mediterranean, the US, EU, Russian, and other deployed military forces are moving with a specific plan. You ignore the reactions of the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon, which denounce the Israeli violation of maritime zones, while this practice gives an alibi to the provocative attitude of the Turkish bourgeoisie that follows the same practice of violation.”
“The same goes for EastMed and the reason is well known. Wealth resources are in the hands of monopoly groups and the bourgeois state, and [the respective signatory] governments serve the interests of big capital. Utilizing the country’s productive potential requires radical changes, organization of the economy and society based on popular needs rather than capitalist profit, international relations based on the joint benefit of peoples, and disengagement from imperialist alliances,” the communist MP Marinos said.
Read the English translation of the full speech by Giorgos Marinos before the Greek Parliament, May 15, 2020: