The risiko delle Zee between Italy, Greece, Turkey, Libya and beyond

The risiko delle Zee between Italy, Greece, Turkey, Libya and beyond

What can change after the agreement between Italy and Greece on the respective exclusive Economic Zones (Zee)

The agreement signed this week in Athens by our Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and his counterpart Nikos Dendias was hailed as an excellent agreement .

By completing a process that began in 1977 with the signing of a temporary agreement, Rome and Athens have finally delimited their respective exclusive economic zones, establishing the maritime boundaries within which each country has the exclusive right to explore and exploit natural resources.

To carry out the demarcations, Italy and Greece – as explained by the deepening of International Affairs – have established that (…) the boundary of the continental shelf defined with the 1977 treaty will be valid for the water column. "

The delimitation of the maritime borders at the same time puts an end to some unpleasant bilateral disputes concerning fishing rights in adjacent waters.

More specifically, as International Affairs still points out , Greece has undertaken “to grant 68 of our fishing boats, based on EU regulation 1380/2013 , access to their territorial waters in the range between 6 and 12 mg ", with a great advantage for us considering that their extension is now 6 mg.

But beyond the specific advantages for both sides, the point of the agreement is entirely political and it was not by chance that the analyst Germano Dottori, scientific adviser of Limes and professor of Strategic Studies at Luiss

"The importance of the Italian move", wrote Doctors in Start Magazine , "lies in the fact that in Athens Minister Di Maio has in fact started a process that should lead to the progressive definition of the EEZ by our country".

This concretely means, according to Doctors, that “Italy has started to plant stakes at sea, formalizing an extension of its maritime sovereignty which it has so far renounced so as not to encourage other coastal States to do the same, in the presumption that they could in the end, the interests of some fishermen in our country are compromised ".

Even for Fabio Caffio , a retired Navy Officer and expert in maritime law, the value of the agreement lies precisely in the fact that – now the heart is thrown over the obstacle – “nothing prevents our country from entering the game of the Zee, both by establishing them in their own system (also to counter the Algerian claim), and by validating the borders of the continental shelf already established with Spain, Tunisia, Albania and Croatia for the water column. Among other things, this would be an opportunity to define the pending fishing issues with Tunis (for the division of the reserved fishing area) and with Zagreb (for access to the territorial waters of the Pelagosa Island according to the Peace Treaty since 1947) ".

The same speech, specularly, also applies to Athens, which after the step taken with us could, as International Affairs still observes , implement "the proclamation strategy of its great Zee, whose limits to the East will be defined with Egypt and Cyprus".

All this can only have repercussions on the other agreement for the EEZ signed last November by Turkey and Tripoli precisely in function of anti-Athens.

"Today is a beautiful day for Greece, Italy, Europe and the whole Mediterranean", it was no coincidence that the words of Prime Minister Mitsotakis , pleased that the agreement appears perfectly respectful of both international law and the convention UN on the law of the sea.

Similarly, Minister Dendias noted that the "demarcation of maritime areas is carried out in accordance with international law, with valid agreements (…) and not with agreements without substance such as the Turkish-Libyan one".

It is obvious, therefore, that the agreement between Athens and Rome intervenes with tense legs in the tensions that are currently crossing the Mediterranean, with particular regard to the conflict in Libya, the unresolved issue of Cyprus and the controversies over the exploitation of the deposits of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, all issues in which Turkey has recently attacked, triggering as many counter-reactions from the various actors involved.

Therefore, support for the Italian-Greek agreement appears to be anything but a coincidence – it is a "just agreement in the Mediterranean" – announced almost immediately by the Defense and Security Committee of the House of Representatives of Libya, that is, by the Parliament of Tobruk which represents the pole of power rivaling that of the Tripolino Fayez al Sarraj and his Turkish ally.

In fact, if we are reading that the agreement made by Cinzia Bianco, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, the move by Rome appears to be anything but antagonistic or not at least as the Greeks are interpreting it.

On the contrary, Bianco observed in a conversation with Start Magazine , in signing the agreement Italy would "simply have made Italy, by virtue of its history, its geopolitical position, its interests, and it has done so by trying as as usual to maintain a balanced position. It had in fact become increasingly clear in recent times that in Libya Italy is increasingly aligned with Turkey. Hence the agreement with Greece, made to balance this alignment and reassure Greece that this will not affect its position in the Mediterranean theater ".

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Sat, 13 Jun 2020 08:25:35 +0000.