Europe Attempts To Break Its Dependence On Russia Energy

The response from Europe to Russian aggression has shown how its energy dependence has hamstrung its foreign policy. Specifically, the Continent’s ties to Russia has impacted the scope and severity of sanctions on Russia.

But, it appears the Continent is beginning to take steps to unshackle those ties.

According to Die Welt, European Union leaders will attend meeting in June in which discussions will be held on how to redesign the way it meets its energy needs.

Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has suggested building new pipelines to enable the unfettered flow of oil from West to East, who said that “too few pipelines and electricity grids and this can easily lead to dependence as well as vulnerability to blackmail.”

On May 38, the European Commission released a new European Energy Security Strategy with the goal of diversifying external energy supplies, upgrading energy infrastructure, completing the EU internal energy market and saving energy are among its main points.

A press release notes the strategy also “highlights the need to coordinate national energy policy decisions and the importance of speaking with one voice when negotiating with external partners” and will be discussed by EU Heads of State or Government at the European Council on 26-27 June.

Some believe Europe should not stop at breaking its energy ties with Russia and should look beyond the Continent for new energy sources.

Forbes contributor Mike Scott says the new energy strategy should not focus entirely on reducing its reliance on Russia, but “rather than on reducing its reliance on fossil fuels as a whole, it has missed the chance to join up energy security and climate policy” with its official plan.

“The Commission does say that the EU, which gets another 55% of its gas from Norway and North Africa, should look for new supplies of gas within and outside the EU. While this may make sense in the short term, to really make its energy supplies more secure, Europe should be trying to expand its renewable energy capacity and reduce overall energy use by improving efficiency,” he writes.

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