Energy & Environment Europe & Eurasia Southern & Southeastern Europe


May 18, 2022

Squaring the energy transition circle in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean

By Katerina Sokou

How to leverage US-Greece cooperation to ensure energy security, while accelerating green recovery

Achieving a smooth energy tradition, where energy security is assured and climate change is addressed, was always going to be a difficult puzzle. Yet in one of the most energy-dependent regions of Europe, Southeast Europe, Greece and the United States have been working closely together to both increase energy security and accelerate the green recovery. They do so by focusing on completing the still missing regional energy integration and by feeding into it multiple energy sources, including the region’s own: both natural gas and the huge renewable potential of the wider region.  

The geopolitical and economic stakes of this exercise are even higher following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the European Union (EU) now views it as “an existential policy” to reduce its dependency on Russian gas. At a time when energy lies at the heart of the global geopolitical calculus, Greece has emerged as one of the United States’ most important partners for achieving European energy security. Importantly, this task includes managing the geopolitical challenges of the energy transition and climate change. 

This report highlights the alignment of interests and priorities between the United States and Greece on energy in the past decade—namely the diversification of energy sources, the security of supply, and the transition to green energy that has the potential to transform the region. These common goals are supported by infrastructure projects that are better linking the region of Southeast Europe with the Eastern Mediterranean, and are deeply rooted in a joint interest for stability, peace and prosperity in both the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean region.  

Analyzing the path and the major timeline of this close partnership, and offering ten recommendations to further deepen and lead the bilateral energy cooperation into the future, the report captures the inputs from a year of private interviews, roundtables, and other outreach efforts to suggest, among others: ways to deepen and institutionalize the bilateral energy partnership on the basis of a comprehensive geopolitical strategy that leverages Greece’s geography and resources to incentivize regional cooperation.

About the author

Europe Center

The Europe Center promotes leadership, strategies and analysis to ensure a strong, ambitious and forward-looking transatlantic relationship.

Image: Sun setting below a spinning windmill turbine in Patras, Greece. (Unsplash/Jason Blackeye)