Energy in Europe: Russia and the EU

October 20, 2006

Russian President Putin is meeting with EU leaders today to discuss energy provision to Europe.

Russia’s economic growth in recent years has been accomplished largely through its exports of gas and oil. With a direct pipeline to Germany on its way, it doesn’t seem likely to slow down; this is why European leaders are worried, because while Russia doesn’t hold the monopoly, it can certainly influence things quite a lot. The perfect example is what occurred when Russia cut the gas supply to the Ukraine this winter: repercussion were felt throughout Europe.

The EU leaders want access to the Russian energy market (for European companies), but they are unlikely to get much from Putin. His presidency has been focused on centralizing energy resources to ensure the state income that the country has brought in under his presidency. One of the accomplishments of his presidency was returning Gazprom to state control, with the government owning more than half of the prosperous company.

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