The Future of European Energy Security: Where Next?

11 November 2014
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Having witnessed gas shortages in some member states, it was only natural for the EU to reinvigorate its energy security policy in the 2000s, specifically in the aftermath of the 2006 and later 2009 Ukrainian crises. Following these two gas crises, the mutual interdependency between Moscow and Brussels played a crucial role in forcing the EU take several important initiatives aimed at preventing any future gas shortages, which is why the EU Commission, with the aim of preventing any likely disruptions to the deliveries of natural gas to Europe from Russia via the Ukraine, published the 2006 Green Paper  on energy security. By issuing this Green Paper, the EU Commission acknowledged that a great challenge lay before Europe in the field of energy security. However, the Commission also brought two solutions into fore, believing that they may be a remedy to this problem. In accordance with the first proposal, it was suggested that European states develop a common energy strategy for Europe. In the second proposal, the EU countries were simultaneously advised to invest in new energy forms, such as renewables etc., so that they could reduce the Union’s overall dependence on imported fossil fuels. Since that date, the EU Commission, in order to lessen its dependency on Russian gas, took several more important initiatives, notable amongst which is the November 2009 ‘Southern Corridor-New Silk Road’, which was made public at the EU’s May 2009 Summit in Prague. The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) initiative that was first introduced at the EU Commission’s Communication ‘Second Strategic Energy Review entitled, ‘An EU Security and Solidarity Action Plan’ (COM/2008/781) aimed to bring in a diversified gas supply from either the Caspian or the Middle Eastern regions to Europe . Until now, with the exception of the ITGI, the two other pipeline projects have yet to be completed. What is more interesting however is that although the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) was not initially a part of the EU’s TEN-E framework, over time it has taken the place of the Anatolian section of the planned Nabucco pipeline. TANAP has thus finally been able to replace Nabucco’s projected role in transporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe. What is more important in the EU’s latest  ‘Energy Security Project’ is the need to diversify amongst resource-rich Middle Eastern and Caspian basin countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan; the possibility of having Iran and Iraq join the SGC are also mentioned in this document, again provided the political conditions are suitable.


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