In the margins of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum and the EU-Southern Neighbourhood Ministerial meeting, the European Commission signed an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a €40 million EU grant to support high-speed fibre-optic connection under the Mediterranean as part of the “MEDUSA” project supported by the EU's Economic and Investment plan for the Southern Neighbourhood.
This EU grant contribution will increase and guarantee the connectivity via the submarine cable and direct terrestrial links, up to the national research and education centres of EU's Southern Neighbourhood region.
The “MEDUSA” project consists of installing a state-of-the-art, high capacity optical-fiber submarine cable that connects five Mediterranean EU countries (Cyprus, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) with four countries from the EU's Southern Neighbourhood (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia). It will be 7,100 km long in total and will include around twelve landing points in nine EU and Southern Neighbourhood countries. A €40 million EU grant will secure direct high-speed connectivity in particular between the research and education communities and users in the North African countries and the EU via the landing station in Barcelona. The EIB is expected to provide the debt finance for the infrastructure with a contribution of up to €100 million in loans. The operation is still subject to the final approval of the EIB Governing Bodies.
This funding will also provide an alternative route for data traffic on the targeted EU routes and allow EU telecom operators to become essential partners in supporting socio-economic growth in the region. “MEDUSA” contributes to the EU's Global Gateway and EIB Global. It is one of the flagship projects under the EU's new Agenda for the Mediterranean adopted last year to boost digital connectivity in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood.
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EIB Global is the EIB Group's specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world.
Over the last five years the European Investment Bank have provided more than EUR 1.5 billion for long-term investment in telecommunication infrastructure across Europe and Africa.
Source: European Commission