Estimated time of reading: ~ 3 minutes
Energy has played a crucial role in global politics in the last few years, and the 2024 elections in Russia and the United States could further enhance its importance, especially for the European Union. The obvious confirmation of Vladimir Putin as the president of the Russian Federation in his fifth term as the head of the Kremlin will push the European leaders to continue on the path to pursue a real strategic autonomy in energy. At this time, no one really believes in the prospect of a change of power in Moscow, at least in the short to medium term, so the European chancelleries will have to cope with a near-zero relationship with Russia, which means the need to find alternative sources for oil and especially natural gas, which came to the EU at a cheap price before the invasion of Ukraine.
At the same time, the scenario in which Donald Trump will return to the White House could cast dangerous shadows over the relationship between the European Union and the United States. In his first term as president, the Republican leader showed a certain detachment, almost a deep intolerance, towards the transatlantic bond. In a world deeply changed after 2020, a second Trump presidency could lead the US to a greater level of isolationism and create a gap in both its political and economic ties with the EU. This would also impact the energy sphere, as the US became an even more important exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European countries during the energy crisis of 2022–23. Will President Trump maintain the actual deals with EU partners, or will he seek a more profitable contract with the risk of jeopardising relations with the European nations and the position of US natural resources on the European markets?
This question looms over the EU in the wake of the 2024 US elections and will contribute to the shaping of European energy policies in the next few months. Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, recently underlined that the EU should basically prepare to strengthen its strategic autonomy on all levels, as the threat of a Trump presidency is real and should be taken seriously on defence as well as other issues. Energy could definitely be one of these.
Written by: Francesco Marino