Written by Jesse Moore
February 5, 2023
Energy-hungry Europeans are keeping an ineffective regime afloat. Despite recent rows with Spain and its dark colonial past with France, relations between Algeria and major European powers are on the mend. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune last month, highlighting Algeria’s importance for the West. Italy depends on Algeria for 40% of its gas, up by 10% since the war in Ukraine. In fact, the North African country sends over 80% of its gas to Europe through Spain and Italy. Algeria is also vital to Europe for its influence in North Africa and the Sahel where it’s seen as a stabilizer, and it also seems to be increasing its capability for military intervention.
Despite this rapprochement, Algeria’s domestic situation is a mess. High inflation, high youth unemployment, a poor business environment, ineffective governance, and saber-rattling with the country’s rival, Morocco, keep the country’s prospects low. The one bright spot is Algeria’s provision of heavily subsidized ‘basics of life’ (staple foods, electricity, housing, etc.) to its people, a policy that may be untenable once energy prices subside. While a change in governance and economic policies would be a relief to the people of Algeria, it is unlikely to happen soon. Western governments are all too eager to lap up energy markets outside Russia and potentially pull one of Russia’s top arms importers away from Moscow. Algeria should take their (likely to be) brief moment in the sun to create a better future for its population.
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