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The Eastern Partnership and energy security policy in Europe

Rada Popova
University of Vienna
Rada Popova
University of Vienna
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper will focus on the role of the latest neighborhood EU policy framework – the Eastern Partnership (EaP) –for shaping Europe’s energy security policy. The 2004 enlargement made it clear that a strategy towards the new neighbors was needed. One of the main tasks of the EaP is to bring the economies of six former Soviet Eastern European states closer to EU standards with a special focus on „energy security”. This relatively new term describes one of the leading issues in the world today as energy resources have become crucially important for most states. Oil and gas reserves in the EU are decreasing. Indeed, there are some countries whose reserves could fill the gap, but EU industries have little or no access to them. In the same time, Europe’s biggest natural energy supplier – Russia – transforms into an energy superpower with control over Eurasia''s largest supplies of oil and natural gas and its economical and political influence over neighboring and consumer states increases steadily as access to energy reserves becomes a critical issue on European level. Energy aspects and relations to Russia will continue to shape EU’s policy relations on the long term. However, the EU - Russia relations are heavily dependent on the transit countries situated Western from Russia – Ukraine and Belarus. The EaP is seen as a useful tool for the EU to get less dependent on Russia, especially with regard to the most recent gas disputes from 2006-2009. This paper aims at presenting the implementation chances of the EaP towards a steadier European energy security.