German Economy Minister Robert Habeck seeks new partnerships with Israel and Jordan | Germany | In-depth news and reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW


Economy Minister Robert Habeck of the German Green Party will have four particularly busy days: he will meet with the Israeli government, visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and meet with representatives of the autonomous authority in the territories Palestinians. Then he goes to Jordan, where he is to co-chair a conference on climate and energy for European, African and Arab countries. He will also visit an air base where 150 German soldiers are stationed. And, finally, he will visit the Al-Azrak refugee camp in Jordan.

Earlier this year, Robert Habeck traveled to Qatar to buy natural resources

Gas from Israel for Europe?

The main focus of the German Vice Chancellor’s talks in Israel will be “cooperation in the fields of energy and climate, as well as high technology.” A hot topic that is not on the official agenda is whether Germany, which is feverishly seeking a replacement for Russian energy supplies, could also get gas from Israel. Israel operates the Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean Sea and is currently negotiating an undersea gas pipeline to deliver gas from there to Turkey and then to countries in southern Europe.

Currently, the Leviathan field currently produces 12 billion cubic meters per year of gas which is used primarily for domestic supply to Israel and for exports to Jordan and Egypt. Significant exports to Europe would require production to be doubled, and even then that would not be enough to make a significant contribution to ending Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. Russian gas currently accounts for around 155 billion cubic meters of Europe’s annual demand. But Habeck clings to straws.

Map showing gas pipelines in the Mediterranean

An Israeli missile shield for Germany?

In April, media suggested that Germany would buy Israel’s “Arrow 3” missile shield system, which is considered highly effective, could be delivered quickly and would cost around 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion). .

German Air Force Inspector Ingo Gerhartz told the Jerusalem Post newspaper in April that Israel and the United States basically agreed on the sale of the missile shield. Germany does not currently have adequate missile defenses, he said, “that’s why we are looking closely at Arrow 3 and we are really interested in the system”.

From Germany, the system could also protect Poland and the Baltic States from possible Russian attacks. German lawmakers also lobbied for the purchase during visits to Israel after the start of the war in Ukraine.

Green hydrogen and energy efficiency

Habeck will chair a MENA States energy conference in Jordan with representatives from European countries. The Middle East and North Africa group includes about 20 countries. They are all characterized by the fact that they have a particularly high solar energy potential, and Europe has an interest in providing know-how and intensifying cooperation.

This is particularly relevant in the context of the production of green hydrogen, or hydrogen produced with renewable electricity. According to the Ministry of Economy, increased cooperation with MENA states “offers a great opportunity given the current geopolitical challenges”.

Meeting with German soldiers and Syrian refugees

On the final leg of his trip, Habeck will take on the role of vice-chancellor rather than economy and climate minister: he will visit the German armed forces in Jordan and the Al-Azraq refugee camp. Around 150 German soldiers are taking part in the US-led fight against Islamist militias in Jordan. The German troops are mainly responsible for refueling the planes.

Al-Azraq camp, located just 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Syrian border in Jordan, is home to several tens of thousands of Syrian war refugees. There, Habeck has the opportunity to point out that, despite all the attention given to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the suffering of the people of and in Syria is not forgotten.

This article was originally written in German.

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