Policy Brief

Lessons Learnt from the Failure of the Mediterranean Solar Plan for the Succes of a Mediterranean Green Hydrogen Partnership

June 2024


Launched in 2008, the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) represents one of the most emblematic and ambitious initiatives for the integration of low-carbon energy in the Euro-Mediterranean energy space. Despite being led by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the European Union (EU), the MSP never achieved its objectives and was subsequently disbanded. More recently, with the publication of the European Hydrogen Strategy (European Commission, 2020) and REPowerEU (European Commission, 2022) – the EU’s energy response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine –, the idea of launching a Mediterranean Green Hydrogen Partnership (MGHP) has emerged prominently.

Based on the lessons learned from the shortcomings that led to the failure of the MSP, this policy brief aims to identify the risks and weaknesses that could be inherited in a future regional hydrogen-focused partnership. The primary objective of this analysis is to extract valuable insights from the MSP’s experience, with the aim of contributing to the success of an MGHP in the future. The policy brief starts addressing the recent history of energy diplomacy in the Euro-Mediterranean region, continues describing the experience of the MSP and then presents the main elements of the current EU hydrogen diplomacy.

The paper concludes by presenting the main lessons learned from the MSP experience. Among them, they highlight the need to reconsider large-scale regional strategies that overly favour multilateral formulas that do not address the geopolitical reality of the Mediterranean. It also identifies the importance of adopting inclusive narratives that engage Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs) and foster real and constructive collaborations in the region. The Eurocentric approach of the MSP and the EU’s hydrogen diplomacy seem to have largely missed the mark by focusing excessively on energy imports without effectively engaging all stakeholders.

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