France Keeps Wooing Gas-Rich Algeria in Latest High-Level Visit

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France’s premier and more than a dozen government ministers are visiting Algeria, the latest drive to rebuild ties with the North African nation that’s a major gas supplier for Europe.

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Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and officials including the finance, foreign affairs and interior ministers are due to arrive Sunday for the two-day trip, according to Agence France-Presse. Talks will focus on economic cooperation, it said.

The trip comes less than two months after President Emmanuel Macron visited the former French colony in a bid to reset relations after years of tensions. Macron in 2021 criticized what he called the country’s “political-military system,” prompting Algeria to at one point close its airspace to French military planes and recall its ambassador to Paris. 

OPEC member Algeria was already Europe’s biggest gas provider after Russia and Norway, with demand for its energy rising on the continent as Russian supplies have declined.

While officials downplayed the role of energy in Macron’s visit, French utility Engie SA was later said to be in talks with Algeria on an increase in gas. Italy, meanwhile, is boosting Algerian imports and has agreed to pay more for the commodity, seemingly managing to secure sufficient alternative supplies from North Africa to make up for any shortfalls this winter.

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