As the political crisis worsens in Italy, Prime Minister Mario Draghi, accompanied by a large delegation, will be on a working visit to Algeria on Monday 18 July. According to several sources, it will be a question of finalizing the agreements between Italy and Algeria before the probable resignation of Draghi.
A political earthquake shakes Italy. Last Thursday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi submitted his resignation, but it was refused by President Sergio Mattarella. The political class and civil society have also multiplied petitions demanding that Draghi remain in charge of Italy. However, the head of government, who says he refuses the ultimatum of the 5-star Movement (M5S) - from his predecessor Giuseppe Conte - concerning minimum wages, says he is "firmly determined to leave his post".
In this context, and on the eve of a decisive parliamentary vote for Draghi, the Italian Prime Minister begins a trip to Algeria. He will also be accompanied by his Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice, Ecology, Infrastructure and Family. A delegation of weight, which says a lot about the importance of this trip.
This is also the second visit of the head of the Italian government to Algeria in the space of three months.. Algeria and Italy quickly drew closer at the start of the gas crisis in Europe. And that dates from before the disagreement between Algiers and Madrid. Indeed, Algeria has increased its gas supplies to Italy by 110% during the first half of 2022. And during this visit, Draghi will sign with Abdelmadjid Tebboune an agreement including the supply of 6 billion cubic meters of additional gas . That's a 90% increase.
A new gas agreement, but not only…
For the Italian press, this visit by Draghi aims to cement the agreements between Algeria and Italy, before the probable departure of the Italian Prime Minister. If relations between the two countries are historically cordial, they passed a milestone after the arrival of Mario Draghi as Italian prime minister. Indeed, in 2021, trade between Algeria and Italy exceeded $8 billion.
La Botte is also the first customer and sixth supplier of Algiers. The sectors of cooperation do not only concern gas, but also agriculture, heavy industry, steel, and above all security.
Read: Algeria and Italy, a budding friendship
Indeed, during a meeting between the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, and his counterpart Luigi Di Maio, aviation and armaments were discussed. Since then, the issue has been discussed at the highest level. Alessandro Profumo's Italian company, Leonardo SpA, is in the process of supplying Algiers with airliners and smart light weapons. A deal that had also sparked a dispute between Leonardo and his French partner Thales.
If there is no doubt that the increase in gas sales from Algeria to Italy is only a formality, other agreements could well be concluded during the visit to Algeria by Draghi. In this case, the sale of electricity against the transfer of Italian technologies to Algeria in the fields of green hydrogen and carbon capture.
Only question: will the agreement with Leonardo also be part of the lot? In view of the exceptionally large Italian delegation, everything suggests that this will be the case. When Abdelmadjid Tebboune returned from his last visit to Rome at the end of May, the Algerian president was escorted by four Italian hunters. A tradition symbolizing a military alliance for Rome.