Blog post 247

Russian gas pipelines and the EU: moving from a love-hate relationship “with adults in the room”?

A policy paper, by
Jean-Arnold Vinois, Energy Adviser to the Jacques Delors Institute, Paris,
and Thierry Bros, Associate Energy Project, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University.

For more than 20 years, in the energy area, the relationship between Russia and the European Union is too often governed by gas pipelines. They are a major tool of the diplomacy played skillfully by President Putin since his accession in 1999 to the Presidency of the Russian Federation. With his open and direct support, offshore pipelines NordStream1, SouthStream, NordStream2, TurkStream1 and 2 have been successively promoted by Gazprom to circumvent Ukraine which is still the main transit country for Russian gas today. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 followed by the western sanctions on Russia and the permanent situation of rampant war in Eastern Ukraine made the Russian pipeline projects a major source of division between the Member States of the European Union. This story tries to identify the main problems raised by the Russian projects and to examine whether and how these problems could be solved for the benefit of all the parties concerned, on a long term basis.