Cracked plans Libya is the first crack in Meloni’s Mattei Plan. We’ve been talking about this for over a year, but we still know very little. However, the critical issues of the Italy-Africa project encouraged by the government, starting from Libya, are known: all the information we have is

Giorgia Meloni mentions the Mattei Plan in his inauguration speech, but more than a year later, we still know very little about this plan. Between Eni, gas and immigration, the government’s plan to turn Africa from Italy into the energy hub of the Mediterranean currently has only private funds, a mission structure and a control room. Everything is missing from the plan, but critical issues are already visible: Libya is one of them. We talked about this with energy and market geopolitics researcher Francesco Sassi.

News on Meloni’s Mattei Plan for Africa 2024

“Improve cooperation between Italy and African states, promote economic and social development and address the root causes of irregular migration”. After months of announcements, the first words of the Mattei Plan were written in black and white. In one of the first sessions of 2024, the Parliament turned the Meloni government’s decree into law and defined the government’s management structure, called “governance”. However, after more than a year of promises and announcements, we still do not have the details: the Real Plan will be officially presented at the Italy-Africa conference, scheduled for January 28 and 29, 2024, as stated by Giorgia Meloni himself.

Culture, education, health, agriculture, energy, economic and infrastructure development, terrorism and the fight against human traffickers will be the main themes to be addressed by the Mattei Plan, which will last for 4 years and the government must report annually. To Parliament. The total cost currently allocated until 2026 is 8.4 million euros, which only covers management and operating expenses.

Who will lead the Mattei Plan: the role of Fabrizio Saggio

The control room will define and implement the Plan, which will be chaired by Giorgia Meloni and will consist of the president of the Conference of the Regions, among other ministers, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tajani, who will later assume the role of vice president. There are representatives of agencies and public companies operating in the sector. It also includes representatives of publicly listed companies and universities, as well as representatives of civil society and the third sector. Participation in the control room is free.

However, it will be the mission structure created at Palazzo Chigi that will work concretely for the implementation of the Mattei Plan. As can be seen from the table below extracted from the technical annex of the bill, 235 thousand euros were allocated to the task structure for 2023, and 2.8 million euros were allocated annually from 2024 to 2026, which is the plan period.

Fabrizio Saggio will be the man of the Mattei Plan. The former ambassador to Tunisia was appointed Meloni’s diplomatic adviser in December, to which the role of “coordinator of the Mattei Plan mission structure” was later added. Saggio was born in Naples on November 18, 1971. After graduating in Law from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in March 1995 with a thesis in International Law, he began his diplomatic career in 1998, working in the Directorate General for Diplomatic Cases and then Personnel. From 2001 to 2005, he worked at the Permanent Representation of Italy to the European Union in Brussels, before being appointed Consul in Cairo.

Photo: Fabrizio Saggio, Mattei Plan coordinator

In 2008, he was appointed Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by Giorgio Napolitano, and in the same year he returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joining the Ministerial Office and working with ministers Frattini, Terzi and Bonino until 2013. . In 2013, he was sent abroad again to the Italian Embassy in Washington. He returned to Rome at the end of 2015 to join the Presidential Department of Diplomatic Affairs, where he served until his last assignment, the ambassador to Tunisia. He is married to Laura and they have two children: Letizia and Antonio.

Libya shows the problems of the Mattei Plan: what’s the problem?

We do not yet know the details of the Mattei Plan, but it is clear that the main geographical reference area is the Mediterranean. It seems no coincidence that Meloni’s first two corporate trips were to Algeria and Libya: the former replaced Russia as Italy’s main gas supplier, while the latter has always been part of Eni’s core activities.

On these trips, the Prime Minister was always accompanied by Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi. Eni has been engaged in gas and oil exploration and extraction activities in Libya since 1959. Libya is one of the countries that supplies gas to Italy through the Greenstream gas pipeline, which is the longest pipeline in the Mediterranean and connects to the national network in Gela, Sicily. Libya itself may show the first problems of the Mattei Plan.

Francesco Sassi told “The Mattei Plan has a difficult basis in Libya. There have been interruptions in the extraction of oil and gas in some important fields. There are infrastructure problems in these wells due to low investment and production has gradually decreased. This is an energy crisis like Italy “It is another challenge for a country that wants to stabilize its situation.”

Data confirms this: Libya’s gas supply has been decreasing in recent years. Greenstream has the capacity to transport up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year, but such levels have not been seen in Italy since 2010. As can be seen from the chart below from, according to data processed by the Ministry of Environment, gas coming from Libya to Italy has been decreasing since 2019, although partial data for 2023 shows an increase compared to 2022, but volumes are still in the past lower than .

Gas coming from Libya to Italy, how much do we import: chart

“The ability of local groups to disrupt production for power plays is among the issues that have affected Libya since 2011 and caused problems for the two Libyan governments,” explains Sassi. “Libya has failed to prove that it is a stable partner in terms of energy.” Eni is planning significant investments in Libya, unprecedented in 20 years. “Green Stream is an infrastructure that already exists, the country is close, but critical problems continue.”

Recent protests at the Mellitah plant have threatened the closure of the plant: “Even the threat of disruption of the Mellitah site shows the problems that such an investment will face in the country – Sassi points out – And this is not the first time this has happened.”

Gas from Libya to Italy: Eni will increase extraction from 2026

Not just gas, but oil and immigrants: “strategy is missing” in the Mattei Plan

Libya has oil as well as natural gas: According to Enea’s latest data, Italy imported 17% of its crude oil from Libya in 2023. It is also necessary to take immigrants into account: The country is at the center of the Mediterranean migration route. Many pass through there and reach Italy by sea. But in the Mattei Plan “the strategy does not yet exist – Sassi’s analysis – The propositions are bilateral agreements with countries that, taken individually, have major problems. I understand that there is a desire to guarantee the Italian supply of the African continent rather than the energy transition”.

“Italy does not have the economic power and political influence to rule a continent”

“Natural gas production throughout Africa is allocated to the domestic market, exports require investment, and Italy does not have the economic power or political clout to rule a continent. If we take into account the growth of the African population, it is clear that oddities arise and needs are not taken into account. Italy ignores the local level It has launched a series of investments in gas production and exports, as well as projects of wider European scope, such as Global Gateway and Repower Eu. Appointment at the Italy-Africa conference: Giorgia Meloni will present the Mattei Plan there.

Source: Today IT