Europe's Dependence on Russian Natural Gas: Perspectives and Recommendations for a Long-Term Strategy
Occasional paper no. 19
GEORGE C MARSHALL CENTER APO AE 09053 EUROPEAN CENTER FOR SECURITY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
The EU currently rely on Russia for almost 38 of their imported natural gas this dependency will become significantly greater if European states implement their currently formulated energy policies. With plans to phase out nuclear power in several European countries, the EU goal to reduce coal consumption thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and the depletion of domestic sources of gas, reliance on Russia will rise to 50 to 60 of all gas imports within the next two decades if different energy policies are not adopted. The EU and greater Europe will soon find themselves in an extremely dangerous position due to the ever increasing dependence on Russian natural gas. These countries must work together now to produce a coherent diversification strategy. While the current EU energy policy is forward thinking in its targets for renewable energy, economizing, and emission reduction, it falls short in its failure to recognize the security threat of the increasing dependence on Russian hydrocarbons-in particular, natural gas. This paper proposes a diversification strategy with concrete steps that can be taken in a variety of energy policy areas to create, over the longterm, a more balanced approach to meeting energy needs. Europe must undertake such a strategy not only because overreliance on any one source represents unsound policy, but more importantly because domination of the European market has been a clear and calculated goal that an unreliable Russian administration has been working towards for several years. Europes dependence on Russia for natural gas already profoundly affects the freedom of action of certain European states and will increasingly erode European sovereignty. This article also discusses these factors, in particular in the context of the kind of steps greater Europe could take to ensure Russia does not realize its goal of reasserting coercive influence through its energy weapon.
- Government and Political Science