Fueling the Flames? Europe’s Energy Dependence on Russia
How can EU nations quickly reduce their reliance on Russian gas and oil? That’s the core issue of this expert panel discussion that brings together Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Latvia), Sven Mikser (Member of the European Parliament) and Oleksii “Alex” Riabchyn (Energy and EU Green Deal advisor to the government of Ukraine).
In response to the Russian war on Ukraine “we’ve seen an extraordinary unity within the European Union”, Clüver Ashbrook notes. But, she wonders, will the unity last?
To Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, the need to stop buying energy from Russia is clear. “It’s not about cheap or expensive gas or oil. It’s about lives of innocent people”, she argues.
Estimates vary but it costs Russia “approximately 20 billion euros” per month to finance the war, the Latvian politician says. “So we are directly financing it. Until the moment we are stopping buying the oil and gas.”
Sven Mikser agrees. Weaning Europe off of its dependency on Russian energy is painful, he says, “but it’s possible and it’s necessary”. In his view, the war is both an “existential crisis for Ukraine” and also a threat “in very many ways to Europe’s security.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
Dr. Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica serves as a Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. She represents the government of Latvia at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings of Trade Ministers and at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings of Development Ministers.
Naftogaz of Ukraine
Dr. Oleksii “Alex” Riabchyn is advisor to the CEO of Naftogaz of Ukraine on low-carbon businesses and EU Green Deal and advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine. He works on energy transition and supports the development of green businesses of the biggest oil and gas company in Ukraine.
Sven Mikser was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2019. He is the Vice-Chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee as well as the Committee on Security and Defence.
Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)
Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook is a fellow with the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi). Her research focuses on the intersection of data and technology with foreign and urban policy. Previously, she served as director of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).