The EU wants to lay an internet cable to Georgia via the Black Sea. This is to reduce dependence on Russia, as the current cable from the EU to the Caucasus runs through Russia. According to The Financial Times, there is fear of espionage and sabotage.
The EU and Georgia have been wanting to install a submarine internet cable since 2021 to improve the connection in the latter country, but the war in Ukraine would have accelerated those plans. The EU would no longer want to rely on ‘connections that are not secure or stable’, says a source to The Financial Times who is aware of the proposal.
Internet cables are considered vulnerable to interception by governments, hackers and thieves, according to the site. MEP Reinhard Bütikofer believes Russia is prepared to sabotage sensitive infrastructure, according to The Financial Times. “If they want to harm the European Union, one option for a regime that has no respect for international laws is to target infrastructure projects.”
The internet cable must cost 45 million euros and cover 1100 kilometers. However, it is not yet clear when the cable can be laid, as the Black Sea is currently also used for warfare. According to The Financial Times, the project is still in the ‘feasibility assessment phase’.
The site also writes, based on conversations with two insiders, that Vodafone also plans to build a cable route via the Black Sea. That project should connect Ukraine to Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia and continue underground towards Asia. Vodafone declined to comment to The Financial Times.
The possible route of the internet cable from the EU to the Caucasus, and the current submarine cable route (source: The Financial Times)