Posts Tagged ‘judy dempsey’

April 2013

Judy Asks: Is There a Way for Europe to Deal With Russia?

Carnegie Endowment

Every week leading experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.

Marcel de HaasSenior research associate at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael

The answer is simple and complicated at the same time: yes, there is a way, if we take a united stance.

A long-standing tradition in Moscow’s policy toward Europe is “divide and rule.” Last week, under the eyes of President Vladimir Putin, Russian gas giant Gazprom and its Dutch equivalent, Gasunie, signed a letter of intent to explore extending the Nord Stream pipeline to Britain. However, a few days later, Gazprom’s CEO made it clear that such a deal could be struck with Belgium as well. In short, Russia is playing EU member states off against each other.

This is only one detail in a broader ongoing energy war between Russia and the EU. By constructing the Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipelines, Russia is circumventing Ukraine. This tactic serves two purposes. First, it is an attempt to blackmail Ukraine into joining Moscow’s Eurasian Union instead of the EU. Second, it aims to counter Nabucco, the EU-backed alternative pipeline from Turkey to Austria, seen as a way to decrease Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

Should Russia be interested, its membership in a new transatlantic market would do more to determine the country’s future orientation than anything the EU has put forward to date.

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