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Scorecard The Europe Question

Beyond dependence: How to deal with Russian gas

Published on 7 November, 2008

Building a single European market in natural gas is the most effective strategy for the European Union to counter Russia's divisive energy diplomacy, according to a new report authored by Pierre Noel. The analysis is published a few days prior to the release of the EU Strategic Energy Review and the next EU-Russia summit. It also comes two months before the start of the Czech EU presidency, which will work on energy security as one of its priorities.

Based on extensive original research, Pierre Noel's paper shows that the current obsession over the EU's dependence on Russian gas misses the point; instead, the problem is that Russia uses gas to divide and weaken Europe politically. Noel argues that the current EU approach to Russia's energy diplomacy - championing alternative energy sources, encouraging non-Russian gas, and attempting to bind Russia with energy treaties - will be ineffective without a single European market in natural gas.

The recent war between Georgia and Russia has added a sense of urgency to the EU's search for a better Russia policy, fuelling fears that Moscow might use its power as a major energy supplier to blackmail Europeans into submission. Noel's paper argues that such concerns are exaggerated. Russia does not have a monopolistic stranglehold over Europe. Its share of EU gas imports has roughly been halved since 1980, from 80% to 42%. Russian gas represents only 6.5% of the EU's primary energy supply, essentially unchanged in twenty years. And dependence is unlikely to start growing soon as Gazprom is not in a position to increase its exports to Europe significantly.

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This report represents the view of the author, not the collective view of ECFR

Op-eds

Gas crisis should refocus the EU's priorities by Vessela Tcherneva, European Voice, 29 January 2009

Avoiding the next gas crisis by Andrew Wilson, the Walls Street Journal, 28 January 2009

Kaasusirkus nöyryyttää EU:ta, Helsingin Sanomat, 13 January 2009

Gaslight by Jose Ignacio Torreblanca, El Pais, 12 January 2009

Europe is failing two life and death tests. We must act together, now by Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, 9 January 2009

Europe's annual gas row by Andrew Wilson, ABC, 8 January 2009

The EU and Russia's gas, Transitions Online, 21 November 2008

Kaasuongelma on EU:n luomus, Helsingin Sanomat, 11 November 2008

Web commentaries

Cleaning up Ukraine's Pipes by Andrew Wilson, 13 January 2009

Press clippings

Les enjeux du gazoduc Nabucco, L'Expansion, 13 July 2009 

Europe's Gas Opera, The Huffington Post, 4 March 2009

Another Wake-Up Call? Europe Remains Divided Over Energy Security Policy, Radio Free Europe, 8 February 2009

La crisis acorrala a los Gobiernos, El Pais, 2 February 2009

Gaz : l'Europe cherche la parade à sa dependence à l'égard de Moscou, Le Figaro, 28 January 2009

EU tells Ukraine not to challenge gas deal, EurActiv, 27 January 2009

The Unreliable Partner, Russia Profile, 23 January 2009

Зад кулисите на Втората газова война, Capital, 23 January 2009

Nord Stream to pump EU gas by 2011, Russia says, EUObserver, 21 January 2009

Turkey uses Nabucco card in EU membership talks, Sofia Echo, 19 January 2009

EU's prestige at risk in continuing gas crisis, International Herald Tribune, 16 January 2009

The Nabucco alternative, Sofia Echo, 16 January 2009

Che fare contro il ricatto russo, Europa, 15 January 2009

Ukraine's pro-Western progress set back in gas crisis: analysts, AFP, 15 January 2009

Gas war costing EU 'hundreds of millions a day', EUObserver, 14 January 2009

Gazprom, la pedina del Cremlino per impedire l' autonomia dell' Europa, La Repubblica, 13 January 2009

Présidence tchèque de l'UE: débuts honorables face aux crises, Romandie News, 11 January 2009

Russia Push for EU Gas Lines Seen in Ukraine Spat, Wall Street Journal, 10 January 2009

Analysis: Gas crisis forced a reluctant EU to act, International Herald Tribune, 9 January 2009

Closed Negotiations May Get Russian Gas Flowing Again, Epoch Times, 9 January 2009

Russia, EU Agree on Monitors for Ukraine Transit Gas, Bloomberg, 9 January 2009

L'Europe doit repenser sa sécurité énergétique, La Tribune, 8 January 2009

L'Europe n'a pas construit un marché unique pourtant souhaitable, Les Echos, 8 January 2009

Cutting the gas, again, Financial Times, 7 January 2009

L'Europe, l'"ours" et le gaz, par Jean-Michel Bezat, Le Monde, 7 January 2009

L'Europe, l'"ours" et le gaz, Le Monde, 7 January 2009

Russian Gas Crisis Seeps into Europe, Business Week, 7 January 2009

La llave del gas, El Periodico, 7 January 2009

Europe's plan for alternative pipeline faces big problems, The Guardian, 7 January 2009

EU considers emergency measures as gas crisis intensifies, EUObserver, 6 January 2009

EU intensifies efforts to solve energy strife, The Financial Times, 5 January 2009

L'échec des négociations entre Moscou et Kiev sur le gaz menace les approvisionnements européens, Le Monde, 1 January 2009

L'Opep annonce la plus forte baisse de production de son histoire, Les Echos, 18 December 2008

Gazprom peine à financer ses projets de développement, Le Monde, 12 December 2008

The Medvedev Doctrine, Newsweek, 1 December 2008

Andreas Whittam Smith: Putin's energy threat should be risible, The Independent, 17 November 2008

EU-RUSSIA: Arms Overshadow Talks, IPS, 15 November 2008

L'Europe face au défi de la dépendance au gaz russe, Le Monde, 13 November 2008

Разделени от руския газ, Dnevnik, 10 November 2008


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