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The EU´s Energy Interdependence with Russia and Transit Countries: what is the Best Way to Preserve Energy Security?

Eric Pardo Sauvageot

The recent events in Ukraine have shaken once more the EU´s confidence in Russia in general as a responsible international actor and the protracted energy dispute with Ukraine from June to December 2014 may appear as a confirmation of Russia´s untrustworthy role as energy supplier. In this respect, the EU´s new energy policy in general and its negative position on South Stream in particular, may appear as correct.However, seen through a wider scope, moving away from Russia as supplier of natural gas may run counter to the EU´s energy security. Analyzing the nature of Russia´s relations with Ukraine as a transit country and determining which are the EU´s real options to diversify away from Russia, this paper will consider whether the EU´s current policy secures its energy security or not. For that, I will understand energy security from both its short-term and long-term dimensions, combined with the concepts of vulnerability and sensitivity interdependence. If the EU is in the short term sensitive to risks regarding energy flows through Ukraine due to turbulent Russia-Ukraine relations, it is nevertheless vulnerable to the long-term consequences of reducing its dependence on Russia as supplier of natural gas. Branching out to a wider debate, the level of politicization of the EU´s energy security and how Russian, Ukrainian and European energy interests can satisfactorily preserved in a positive-sum game will also be considered.

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