EU’s Energy Dependence on Russia Hard to Kick

EU’s Energy Dependence on Russia Hard to Kick
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, St. Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2015 (Official Kremlin photo).

At last week’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian and Greek officials negotiated a framework agreement for Greece’s participation in the Turkish Stream gas pipeline that, if realized, will transport Russian gas via the Black Sea and Turkey to European markets. The deal comes just a year after the European Union adopted a comprehensive strategy to enhance its energy security, with a key objective being to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian energy sources. However, if the Russia-Greece deal and other developments of the past year are any indication, this campaign could take decades to achieve and will encounter many setbacks on the way.

To enhance the EU’s long-term energy security, the strategy emphasizes diversifying external energy supplies, modernizing energy infrastructure, raising the interconnectivity of installed electricity capacity, constructing infrastructure to permit rapid redirection of energy flows within the EU to alleviate spot shortages, promoting energy conservation and coordinating national energy policies better with non-EU negotiating partners.

The EU’s goals, strategy and tactics make sense. By reducing their dependence on Russian energy, EU governments seek to decrease their vulnerability to external supply shocks and possible Russian blackmail over unrelated political issues. Europe, which obtains much of its Russian oil and gas through pipelines that traverse Ukrainian territory, has suffered collateral damage from recurring Russia-Ukraine price disputes and shut-offs in recent years. Europeans’ dependence on Russian energy supplies can also constrain their ability to confront Russia politically over issues like the Ukrainian conflict as well as their willingness to apply serious energy sanctions on Moscow.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review