EU-Ukraine relations and the energy sector


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It is just impossible not to talk about energy when it comes to the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effect on EU-Ukraine relations. After the COVID pandemic, European leaders faced a really hard time due to another gigantic challenge: how to cope with supporting Ukraine while renouncing their long-standing reliance on cheap Russian oil and gas. Europe found itself deeply dependent on Moscow on the energy side, and maintaining a firm stance on supporting Ukraine had a huge cost for many European countries. Still, the EU managed to do that, surviving at least a year and a half of skyrocketing prices for natural gas, a dynamic that led the European governments to find new potential partners from which to buy hydrocarbons in different regions, from the Middle East to the broader Mediterranean area and also across the Atlantic. Still, energy remains a key feature in the triangle relationship between Europe, Ukraine, and Russia, as not all the EU countries agree on a Russian gas-free agenda for the future.

Another issue that involves Kiev and Brussels, as well as all the EU capitals, is the potential of the Ukrainian energy sector and the need to reconstruct all the infrastructure lost due to the Russian strikes on Ukrainian soil. As the Ukrainian Ministry for Energy stated, “Ukraine’s international partners are interested in investing in the restoration of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and participating in projects to introduce modern technologies in the energy sector in the future.” This means that after the war, dozens, if not hundreds, of billions of euros are going to reshape the whole energy sector in Ukraine, and the European countries and their firms will probably take a large part of this task. Ukraine aims to become an energy hub for Europe, taking advantage of its size and position as a bordering country in both Central Europe and the Balkan region, as well as being a main actor in the Black Sea, where oil from the Caspian Region can be shipped and then distributed northbound.

Written by: Francesco Marino

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