Threats from China and Russia to the security and infrastructure of the Mediterranean

Russia and China are the main threat to Mediterranean security and strategic infrastructure – such as gas pipelines and undersea cables –, Senator Marco Dreosto (League/ID), Secretary of the Bureau of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, told EURACTIV.it.

The Lega senator claims that one of the potential outcomes of the situation in Ukraine is instability in the Mediterranean.

“Many hostile actors,” including Russia and China, might endanger Europe’s security in the area that stretches from continental Europe to the northern and sub-Saharan strip of the African continent, he warned.

Regarding Russia, the nation’s naval fleet is present in the area in ever-increasing numbers. Russia has a significant impact in the area as well, particularly as a result of the Wagner group’s activities. However, China keeps up its unrelenting “effective penetration action” in the Mediterranean region. Both nations regularly engage in propaganda and disinformation efforts against the West, Dreosto continued, despite the fact that their motivations are primarily economic.

The stability of crucial regions is also threatened by Turkey and Iran in the Balkans and the expansion of jihadist movements in the Sahel, which poses a security issue for Italy and Europe.

The “migrant bomb,” as described by Senate League (ID) group leader Massimiliano Romeo, is one of the first assaults, according to the executive of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. This refers to the rising number of unauthorized immigrants coming to Italy from Africa.

A “hybrid war” being waged by the Wagner organization in Africa would be the cause of the migratory flood, according to Defence Minister Guido Crosetto (FDI/ECR), who raised the alarm straight from the highest levels of Italian institutions. Meloni and the full government majority agree with Crosetto’s stance.

Dreosto emphasizes that one of the hybrid weapons employed by these hostile actors to wage an asymmetric war is the migration flows that are brought on by the instability (induced or physiological) of the countries of the enlarged Mediterranean.

In addition, in the context of increased geopolitical tensions in Europe, there are also “underwater” and “cyber” attacks that could target strategic infrastructure, such as undersea cables for internet data transmission and gas pipelines for Italian and European energy supplies. These attacks are in addition to “traditional” attacks by land, sea, or air.

Considering that 20% of marine trade routes, which are important for import-export, run through the Mediterranean, the threat also extends to the global economy.

In recent remarks on the subject, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the Atlantic Alliance’s commitment to the Mediterranean to curb illicit migration and safeguard vital infrastructure.

Stoltenberg emphasized that challenges on the Alliance’s southern front have “a lot to do with key infrastructure” and that “we are seeing a growing Russian activity in Africa.”

“To address instability and fight terrorism, NATO is widely present in the Mediterranean. He added, “We cooperate with countries like Tunisia (…) and will intensify our efforts with partners in Africa. We also support the European Union’s efforts to fight unlawful migration.

Prior to Stoltenberg’s address, Dreosto submitted a motion to the Italian Senate asking for the government’s request for financial assistance and specific NATO and EU initiatives to fortify Europe’s southern flank. The objective is to stabilize the greater Mediterranean region and provide special assistance to Italy, which is coping with the migrant crisis and other dangers firsthand owing to its geographic location.

“It is necessary to boost and accelerate the production of strategic and high-tech instrumentation for our Defense, that of the Atlantic Alliance, and to give more incisiveness to our military contingents abroad,” the senator said, highlighting the fact that Italy must invest in defense to uphold the agreements made with international partners and demonstrate its dependability.

“Italy must rediscover a vocation for maritimacy, putting the sea at the center of our country, which must be conceived as an area where we can project our geopolitical strength, not only for our security but that of the entire West,” Dreosto also said.

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