Russia’s Energy Leverage Wanes in Parts of Europe

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Russia has historically used its dominance in the energy sector to influence Central and Eastern European governments. But since the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute in 2009, when Russia cut supplies to all of southeastern Europe, the region has been pouring resources into creating energy independence. In addition, the Paris Agreement on climate change (which entered into force this year) and the EU’s Energy Union (launched last year) provide impetus for countries to use more renewables in their energy mixes, reducing the need for Russian oil and gas.

New gas pipeline infrastructure and efforts to procure liquefied natural gas (LNG) from non-Russian suppliers are helping Central and Eastern Europe to diversify supply. Hungary, for example, has built interconnecting pipelines between countries in the region, including one that links to Slovakia and Western Europe. An interconnector in Austria allows Hungary to access Vienna’s major natural gas hub, Baumgarten.

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