In the last twenty years the European energy security debate
has been overwhelmingly focused on the energy security of the
Central and Eastern European (CEE) states and on their relationship with Russia. The key issue has been Russia’s attempt to maintain its influence and control through its energy dependencies.
The article argues that the problems encountered by
the CEE states have been resolved to a large extent due to the actions taken by the European Commission (EC). The EC has
played a vital role in providing a collective voice for CEE and in supporting their regional energy integration in order to reduce their vulnerability to external pressures from Russia. The article goes on to argue that while the issue of CEE energy dilemmas has been addressed this does not, however, mean that the European energy predicament regarding Russia has been fully resolved. The article contends that the European-Russian energy relationship is also conditioned by larger geopolitical concerns regarding the US-Russian relationship, NATO, as well as by Cold War legacies which have come to the surface in a cyclical manner.
The Trump administration’s sharp criticism of new energy
infrastructure projects constructed from Europe to Russia
underscores this point. The article asserts that European energy security will remain problematic in the absence of a more general political settlement between Russia and the West.