EnergySourceNov 2, 2022
A new Europe-MENA energy interdependence: The role of hydrogen
By Giampaolo Cantini
A deeper Europe-MENA relationship could aid a secure transition in Europe and create lucrative low-carbon export opportunities and industries in North Africa. Hydrogen could be the cornerstone of these new ties, and COP27 could be the perfect forum to develop them.
Giampaolo Cantini is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center.
In 1983, Cantini joined the Italian diplomatic service. After serving in Ethiopia as his first post from 1986 to 1989, he worked at the Italian Mission at the United Nations in New York from 1989 to 1994 and at the Italian embassy in Washington, DC, from 1999 to 2003. He further developed his experience in multilateral affairs within the European Union—including when he chaired two working groups of the European Council during the Italian Presidency of 2003—and the Group of Eight from 2003 to 2007.
He held several key posts in the Italian civil service including as a member of the Office of the Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Italian Republic from 1994 to 1999 and in his capacity as director general for the Italian Development Cooperation from 2013 to 16. He developed firsthand experience and in-depth knowledge of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern affairs in his capacities as ambassador to Algeria from 2007 to 2012, consul general to Jerusalem from 2012 to 2013, ambassador to Egypt from 2017 to 2021, and director general of the Italian Development Cooperation. Especially during his terms as ambassador in Algeria and in Egypt, Cantini also developed a key interest and an extensive experience in the fields of energy diplomacy, energy transition, and EU-North Africa energy-security issues. After retiring from the Italian diplomatic service at the end of 2021, he established a company of consulting services, focused on energy issues, North Africa, and EU-Mediterranean relations.