Russia’s energy leverage over the EU. Myth or Reality?

Casier, Tom (2011) Russia’s energy leverage over the EU. Myth or Reality? Perspectives on European Politics and Societies, 12 (4). pp. 493-508. ISSN 1570-5854. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Today, the EU is less dependent on Russian energy than it was two decades ago. Nevertheless, EU-Russia energy relations are more widely understood in terms of power, security and zero-sum geopolitical competition. This article challenges this Neo-Realist argument. Drawing on Keohane's and Nye's concepts of interdependence sensitivity and vulnerability, it both tests the actual degree of EU energy dependence and the extent to which dependence may create Russian leverage. It is found that the actual EU supply dependence is overrated and is mainly due to the EU's internal divisions. Secondly, Russia's potential leverage is undermined by its high dependence on EU energy demand. Thirdly, its potential energy leverage is at least counterbalanced by other dimensions of asymmetrical interdependence outside the energy context. Explaining how geopolitical power-related explanations became dominant in the analysis of EU-Russia relations, this article refers both to structural changes in the energy market and also to new perceptions that resulted from a renewed geopolitical logic in early decisions over pipelines, changing attitudes as Russia grew stronger and the different nature of the energy markets in the EU and Russia. While geopolitical considerations may occasionally sneak in, the core of EU-Russia energy relations is still predominantly economic and commercial.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Tom Casier
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2011 13:27
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2011 08:58
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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