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Home Publikacijos Lithuanian Energy Security in the Light of EU – Russia Energy Dialogue

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The main aim of this paper is to identify the main threats and challenges presented to Lithuania by the recent developments in the international sphere of energy politics. Lithuanian energy security is impaired not only by its geopolitical location and lack of diversification of supplies, but also by the lack of solidarity within the EU when dealing with issues of external energy policy. The officially declared global and unified approach results in a series of bilateral agreements, which are oriented to national rather than EU interests. Maybe it would be naive to expect 27 countries to have the same objectives in the energy area, but a common policy and principles of how to diminish common threats and dependence on third parties could be implemented. The paper consists of mainly three parts – the European, Russian and Lithuanian approach. The aim is to show the political vulnerability stemming from the economic dependence, therefore an overview of the energy market and main policies is presented. There are also parts of the paper dedicated to the explanation of the existing infrastructure, proposed and implemented policies as well as recommendations. The questions are raised concerning the interdependence of the main players of the energy market, possible threats arising from bilateral cooperation, the struggle between national and European interests. When dealing with Lithuania the focus will be to demonstrate that Lithuanian energy security is a question of great concern and should be approached on the national as well as European level. The paper will also attempt to assess Russia’s reliability as a supplier and trading partner as well as the question of the use of energy as a tool of external policy.

Introduction

Energy security is a headline of today, constantly reminding us of the threats and dangers that wait for us in this century. With a few exceptions, Europe is consuming far more energy than it produces. Most European countries hence rely on external sources for their energy consumption. With the growing demand for oil and gas Europe is witnessing an increased dependence on the countries that are able to meet this demand – countries like Russia. Therefore cooperation between EU and Russia in the energy sector raises new challenges, such as security of supply of energy resources and energy security. Energy security has become an indispensable part of the international as well as European political agenda.

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Russian interests

In order to understand both sides we need to look at Russia as well and understand the rationality behind its policy. According to Dieter Helm, Russia’s interests are to maximise the economic and political leverage of its energy assets, and EU needs to come to terms with the fact that Russia will not adopt an open third-party access regime to its gas pipes and open up its oil and gas reserves to all comers.

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Energy security: who is who?

Perceptions and expectations 

According to the EU Commissioner of Energy, Andris Piebalgs, the energy challenge is one of the greatest challenges the world faces. Challenges such as climate change, global security, sustainable economic development: the major political challenges which we face every day can only be resolved if we are able to resolve the energy challenge.

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Interests of the European Union

The main interest of the European countries is the continuous and undisrupted import of energy resources. Economic stability and security of transportation infrastructure are necessary prerequisites for this. At the same time when Russia is seeking to establish a monopoly with as little foreign interference as possible, Europe is trying to prevent Russia from controlling the majority of all imports, thus allowing it to manipulate supply prices as well as quantities. For this reason maintaining the balanced structure of imports diversified by supplier, transit route and energy resource is absolutely required.

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