The European Union and Iraq have signed a strategic energy partnership, as the bloc seeks to diversify its energy sources.
The EU wants to diversify its energy sources and decrease its dependence on Russia
The agreement signed on Monday is intended to strengthen energy cooperation between the EU and Iraq in a number of areas, including energy security, natural gas and renewable energy sources.
The new deal could also reduce the EU's dependence on Russia for energy. This is already the aim of a 3,000-kilometer (1,865 mile) long gas pipeline project known as Nabucco, which will run from Turkey to Austria via Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary, and could also take in natural gas from Iraq as well as from other producers in the region such as Azerbaijan.
"Iraq represents a vital link for the EU's security of supply," said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
In return, the EU says it will help Iraq draw up a new national gas development plan, develop its electricity grid, improve the safety and reliability of its oil pipelines and "identify sources and supply routes for gas from Iraq to the European Union."
After signing the agreement, Piebalgs met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and reeiterated the EU's desire for a "long-term, mutually beneficial" relationship with Iraq.
Editor: Susan Houlton