Since Russia first invaded Ukraine last year, Putin has boasted of his ability to exploit natural gas dependency to undermine European solidarity. Indeed, though the continent as a whole relies on Russia for only 30 percent of its natural gas, roughly six states are completely dependent, a gap Putin has worked hard to widen.
While Europe’s gas vulnerabilities cannot be easily undone, through better gas market integration they already have been reduced. However, there is another way to diminish Moscow’s energy leverage: diversifying away from Gazprom supplies. And indeed, a handful of well-known projects could achieve just that. But most of these projects have languished, victims to precisely the sort of petty national rivalries and isolationism that the EU is supposed to obviate. And for whatever reasons, the EU’s heavy hitters – Berlin and Paris – have not pursued the sort of activist diplomacy required to break these logjams.
The article originally appeared in Berlin Policy Journal on August 10, 2015. Continue reading here.