The EU and Russian gas: Is Ukraine a game changer?

Pollak, Johannes and Brutschin, Elina and Schubert, Samuel R. (2014) The EU and Russian gas: Is Ukraine a game changer? IHS Standpunkt – Position 26, 5 p.

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The recent Russian/Ukrainian crisis reveals a fundamental conundrum about the future of European energy security, one that impels policymakers to choose between two distinct futures. Should Europe decrease its gas cooperation with Russia assuming it could do so and, thus, move now to mitigate future gas interruptions or, alternatively, should it build on its strong interdependent trade and investment relationship to reel in Russian foreign policy while concurrently moving to anchor Ukraine tightly into the Western fold? The choice is not necessarily an easy one. One’s assumptions about Russia’s intentions in its near abroad, its reliability as a supplier, and one’s notion of whether an economically strong or weak Russia is good or bad for EU strategic interests all play a role. Yet while the EU’s position is far from strong (it still lacks a short or medium term alternative to Russian gas), it is not weak. Russia does not have a credible alternative to European foreign direct investments (FDIs) and that gives the EU’s bargaining position more teeth than one might initially think. Moreover, when one looks beyond the punditry and rhetoric, Russia has proven to be a reliable supplier since it began delivering gas to Western Europe in the late 1960s. A move to break that partnership over Ukraine may be popular, but it will not benefit Europe’s interests in the short to medium term. This policy brief argues that it is not in the EU’s interest to decrease cooperation with Russia in the short term, but rather to work toward deepening it.

Item Type: IHS Series
Additional Information: erscheint auch als ÖGFE Policy Brief
Status: Published
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Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2015 08:18
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2016 14:18
URI: http://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/3205

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