EU-Russia Energy Co-operation: How Will It Work?

On Russia Profile, foreign policy analyst Alexander Rahr argues for greater EU and Asian cooperation with Russia in the energy sector. He outlines the initial decision to centralize Russia’s natural gas industry and the development of Gazprom, and argues that it is Gazprom’s monopoly over state pipelines in particular that allows Russia to “retain the upper hand” in the energy sector. He puts particular emphasis on the South Stream project, which Greece has just agreed to join, as a politically designed project to counter-balance opposition to the North Stream (or Baltic Sea) pipeline, currently coming from Poland and Scandinavia in the form of environmental concerns. “If Russian natural gas cannot come to the EU from the north, it will travel westward from the south.” Rahr believes that an EU-Russia energy alliance could be a positive thing “only when the transit countries are also included in the joint strategy and no longer fear political pressure from Moscow.” But Rahr’s practical background to the issue suffers from the key question, which he himself asks: “what happens if there is a repeat of the Cold War between Russia and the EU?” Read the full article here.