5 December 2013, 6 - 9 PM CET
TUSIAD Avenue des Gaulois, 13, Brussels 1040
Russia and the EU do not always see eye-to-eye when it comes to energy policy. Indeed, for two stakeholders with such substantial levels of reciprocal energy trade, the volume of policy divergence between the parties is, at times, alarming. Russia feels it has contributed greatly to the creation of European gas markets over the years, and generally regards itself as a reliable natural gas supplier. The EU, whilst seeking to introduce greater competiveness and efficiency into the Bloc's internal energy market, appears to be "moving the goalposts" for major external (energy) suppliers, including Russia. Or so it may be perceived, particularly by those stakeholders with established energy relationships which are underscored by long term supply commitments and large investments.
That being said, while it may sometimes appear that Brussels and Moscow cannot live together, when it comes to the energy business, neither can they live apart. While the EU may desire to strengthen its energy security by pursuing strategies of diversification, it is inevitable that gas pipelines linking Russian gas supply to European consumption will remain in place for years to come. The "plumbing" will remain in place for years, some experts say. Be if for better or for worse, recent experience from the Baltic clearly implies that new gas infrastructure will continue to link Russia to the EU. Is it not high time for Russia and the EU to settle their differences and let business be business? And is there more opportunity than challenge in the EU-Russian energy relationship?
On December 05 Dr Ivan Gudkov talked broadly to members and guests of the Brussels Energy Club about both the "challenges and opportunities" of the present-day EU-Russia energy relationship. While speaking in a personal capacity and off the record, Dr Gudkov addressed many of the issues of interest to many of us on a day-to-day basis, including EU internal market energy legislation and its implications for the EU-Russia energy trade, new gas pipeline projects involving Russian and European stakeholders, scope for greater integration of Eurasian energy markets, regulatory questions including possible exemptions for Gazprom EU-relevant pipeline projects, etc. Concluding, Dr Gudkov outlined some of the drivers in the search for complimentary approaches in the EU-Russia energy trade.
Associate Professor, Moscow State University of International Affairs (MGIMO)
Deputy-Head of Division, Legal Department, OJSC Gazprom, Moscow