Perspective of Energy Security in Europe

2022/05/20 | Economy, Note, top news

Strategic Council Online – Opinion: Having referred to current trends of developments between Russia and Europe and also international political economy, one of the global important challenges of the present century is the challenge on energy security and resources, particularly oil and gas. Pouria Nabipour, Ph.D., Political Science & International Relations

Supply of energy security for a country like Germany that is experiencing the highest growth rate of consuming energy in Europe will become one of the important elements of energy policy and foreign policy in the coming years. The European Union concern of the Russian economic and political hegemony over energy resources has made the European Union to look for diversification of suppliers as well as routes to transfer its required oil and gas. Imposition of sanction on Russian energy sector will probably intensify the present Germany’s economic recession and will increase the unemployment and inflation rate. Among other concerns will be the losing of Germany’s industrial competitiveness.

Among the most important objectives of energy security is non-threatening of energy resources. To this end, the feasibility of the transfer of energy (oil and gas) has an inevitable relation with continuous economic growth of countries. Russia is one of the most important producers of energy in the world and among the most essential suppliers of energy to Europe.

War against Ukraine led to serious debates about imposing economic sanction on Russia by the European Union, particularly about banning the export of Russian natural gas to the European Union. In the meantime, Russia can also decide to stop delivering its natural gas to the European Union at any time, for example in case the sanctions on SWIFT extend.

But in both cases, main economic powers of the European Union, particularly Germany, will strongly be impressed. Germany imports almost 50% of its required natural gas from Russia. Even if the complete and short term halt of Russian supplied gas can be manageable for Germany’s economy, bottlenecks will become further serious in the coming winter. Long term perspective of energy security indicates that Europe is unable to quickly replace Russian natural gas particularly with hydrogen and renewable domestic energies.

It is expected that the shortage of natural gas in world markets because of rising demands will lead to considerable and long term increase of prices. Sanction on Russian energy can impress a wide range of different industrial sections, from foodstuff to car manufacturing, medicines and construction sectors. The unified European Union with unequal amount of energy consumption and reliance of its member countries to Russia, is not ready to pay the price of sanction on Russian energy.

Therefore, integration and solidarity of the European Union as one of the most important elements of its establishment, will be weakened on energy policy and security. Skyrocketing gas prices, empty reserves, concern about rationing and closing up; in the light of war between Russia and Ukraine, will increase the demand and competition over energy resources.

Therefore, even if omission of Russian natural gas is feasible in short term, Germany and other European Union member countries will have to bear very high price. The costs that European tax payers, particularly Germans should pay its price, and in case of prolongation, the trend may prepare the ground for dissatisfactions as well as gaps among European peoples and their governments.

In such a situation, the European and NATO leaders should either replace new sources of energy with Russian oil and gas which of course, is not an easy job, or prepare the ground for peace in Ukraine and put the reduction of sanctions against Russia in their agenda.

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