6 European countries sign an agreement to protect infrastructure in the North Sea from attacks

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AFP) – Six European countries bordering the North Sea announced Tuesday an agreement to work together to protect underwater infrastructure in the North Atlantic Ocean in the face of the growing threat of sabotage.

The Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Supply said the North Sea is a hub of critical infrastructure connecting Europe via power cables, gas pipelines and telecommunications, as well as being an important source of renewable energy.

“Increasing cross-border interdependence has emerged, and with it the added risk of subversion and unwanted attention from hostile actors,” the ministry said.

The plan was announced after unsolved explosions damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. The bombings occurred in international waters but within the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. The two countries closed their investigations into the incident.

The explosions led to the explosion of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which was the main route for natural gas supplies from Russia to Germany until Moscow cut off deliveries at the end of August 2022. The explosions also damaged the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which failed to enter service due to Germany’s suspension. the service. Its certification process took place shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February of that year.

“The North Sea has the potential to become a cradle of renewable and secure energy supplies in Europe, while supporting the path to a future free of fossil fuels,” said Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Supply Lars Aagaard. The six countries – Denmark, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands – must remain united and coordinated in our efforts to protect critical cross-border infrastructure. He added, “This agreement is an important step in this direction.”

The cooperation process will include reviewing current protection and resilience measures, exchanging information and knowledge and reporting relevant information at the operational level, according to the Danish ministry’s statement. “In addition, cooperation depends on relevant work within the European Union and NATO,” he added.

Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany said in May 2022 that they plan to accelerate the continent’s environmental transition and help reduce their dependence on Russian energy imports through a major project to build wind farms in the North Sea. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said they want to quadruple wind capacity by 2030 and tenfold by 2050. The plan aims to provide energy to 230 million European homes.

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