#14

The impact of the Ukraine War on the “enlarged Mediterranean”

The weight of the Russian war in Ukraine is already being seen in our energy bills on a global level, as a result of the reorganisation of energy relations across the world (especially in Europe). Food safety is also a major concern, a complex issue repeatedly brought up in recent months. There will likely be a long term hit on this, although the first tremors are already being felt. If there is one area that will suffer more than others, it will certainly be the enlarged Mediterranean.

Energy and food are both part of this, but then there are also a number of issues when it comes to the relations between various states. Political and geopolitical games, instability and recomposition worldwide. A group of problems that Russia unfortunately has its hands dipped in. As well as the European Union, the United States, other Middle Eastern actors (Turkey, the UAE, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for example) and China. The effects of Russia’s assault on Kiev will be directed to all of these places. Wide reaching consequences from the long arms of conflict. 

The Russian Foreign Minister recently visited Libya, Mali, Central African Republic and Algeria. Meanwhile in Cameroon, Russia struck a military deal for further military cooperation. In the Arabian peninsula there is pressure in Syria, the great chokepoints of the red sea and the strategic peninsula the Corno d’Atrica. Moscow still wants to be a global power despite sanctions from those in Europe. The Russians are not retreating on any front despite being involved in an ongoing war that is far from being resolved. Although on the contrary: given the penetration in certain areas, it’s legitimate to think that Russia will try to use these fronts as a deterrent, a way to shift attention, interests and efforts.

The globalisation of the Russian war in Ukraine, emergencies with grains, energy, political instability and humanitarian effects finds its epicentre in the Mediterranean. New crises have the potential to explode. Not only the lasting Ukrainian war, but a number of possible hybrid conflicts are on the horizon. It is for this reason, given the centrality of the region for Europe and the world, in Brussels and Washington, but also in Rome, Paris, Madrid & Berlin – attention must be kept exceedingly high. This is why we can no longer postpone the duty to get work building a political movement with which to protect the Mediterranean from the fallout of war. 

There is a risk that this might trigger great chaos, an endemic disorder, when the basin – its policies and communities, ask for order and relaxation. Two countries, above all, can play a fundamental role in the future of the Mediterranean. Italy and France. Two Mediterranean powers that have an ability to exploit their weight within the EU to direct ideas and actions with which to build up a defence of the Mediterranean. Blocking the spread of crises. This can also work as a possible form of the containment of the war itself – in the global affairs that the Ukrainian war is stimulating, “Tout se tient!” The price of war will likely be felt everywhere, however the enlarged Mediterranean will feel it in a more direct and likely severe manner. This brings with it great risk of new social unrest and conflicts, on which Italy keeps its attention for reasons of national interest.