Energy Dependence Threatens Europe’s Security

Conn Carroll /

18 countries ranging from large European Union members, including Germany to small ex-Soviet Moldova, have been affected by Russian quasi-governmental gas giant Gazprom’s cut in natural gas supplies to Ukraine. Gazprom has become synonymous with energy intimidation and has specifically targeted former Soviet states such as Ukraine as it seeks to carve out a Russian-dominated sphere of influence in its near abroad.

Heritage Senior Policy Analyst Sally McNamara looks at steps Europe must take to prevent future incidents:

Although Russia has, until now, tended to be a reliable energy supplier to Western Europe, Europe cannot afford to stand idly by and hope that Moscow will play fair in the future. This is all the more pressing considering first, that Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow is growing, and second, that Moscow has a head-start on Europe in negotiating pipeline deals that will tighten its grip on East-West transit routes.

Europe cannot allow itself to be boxed into a corner when dealing with Moscow on important foreign policy questions (such as NATO enlargement) because it is scared of Russia turning off the energy taps. The EU’s obsession with making ever-bolder promises on cutting carbon emissions has resulted in a European energy policy that is far too focused on unrealistic targets to address climate change at the expense of seriously addressing energy security. Europe must now diversify its supply routes and seek reliable alternate sources of energy such as nuclear power. It must also coordinate a policy toward Russia that confronts, rather than accommodates, an increasingly aggressive Moscow.

Heritage Senior Research Fellow Ariel Cohen recommends a U.S. course of action: