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Gulliver Unchained? Europe’s Changing Relations with Oil and Gas Producers

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The European Commission once compared the EU, an economic giant dependent on multiple energy suppliers, to “Gulliver in chains.” One of the great promises of the European Green Deal, aside from lowering emissions, is to liberate Europe from these figurative chains of dependency. Yet, the war in Ukraine has punctuated this storyline. Russia’s weaponization of gas exports compelled Europe to hastily pivot to alternative gas and oil suppliers. This shift has effectively “fast forwarded” the impact of the Green Deal on Russia, while muddying the outlook for other energy suppliers such as Azerbaijan and Algeria. The dynamic realignment of energy alliances underscores the need for a nuanced understanding of how geopolitical dynamics will unfold in the wake of the European Green Deal.

The unveiling of the European Green Deal in December 2019 marks a historic milestone in the history of the EU. It is comparable in significance to just a select few transformative projects, such as the completion of the internal market and introduction of the euro. The Green Deal is widely acknowledged to carry profound geopolitical consequences, in particular for Europe’s relations with key energy suppliers such as Russia, Norway, or Algeria. However, in the first two years of the Green Deal, analyses of its geopolitical consequences came with a hefty dose of idealism.



(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)