So much for a Russia reset. Observers are already declaring the death of EU foreign policy following a humiliating trip to Moscow by European High Representative Josep Borrell. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has warned the Kremlin is ready for a complete “break” with the EU, severing existing ties should Brussels dare to implement a new round of targeted sanctions.

Lavrov is (probably) bluffing. Russia is dependent on energy exports to the EU in order to prop up a corrupt and inefficient economy. Yet, at the same time, the EU also depends on Russian energy to keep the lights on; Russia is the EU’s main supplier of crude oil (30%), natural gas (40%) and solid fossil fuel such as coal (42%). Both partners need one another (though that mutual energy dependency may change as the EU transitions away from fossil fuels).

Should the EU work to reduce its dependency on Russia? French President Emmanuel Macron has argued there cannot be peace in Europe without engaging Russia. Others, however, have criticised this approach, with some describing it as engagement for its own sake without any broader strategy behind it. The humiliation of Borrell in Moscow has hopefully demonstrated that Europe first needs to work out what it wants to say to Russia, and talk only when it is appropriate to talk.

Can the EU afford to cut ties with Russia? Should Europe cancel the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project and work harder to reduce its energy dependence on the Russian Federation? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) European Union, 2021

115 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Reducing dependency on Russian energy was something that the EU should have pursued for a long time now…

    • avatar

      Why?It was Ukraine which was stealing EU’s gas. Saudi Arabia imprisons women for driving a car… so we should stop any oil imports from there.

    • avatar

      Kostas Tsotsanis Yeah, now if Germany could get the memo, that’d be great.

  2. avatar

    Russia is the biggest European country.E.U. must improve relations with it at maximum level

  3. avatar

    Well keep sanctioning them and eventually you will have a large unstable and hostile country right to your borders. Not very wise is it? Stop playing America’s games to serve their interests Europe. After all, they don’t have direct borderline with Russia. And it is all about financial interests nothing more. The US and their Western European Atlanticist allies just want a weaker economically Russia to spread their own influence and interests to the East. If you were Russia and had all your former western territories being cut off your sphere and influence, severely hurting your finances wouldn’t you protest? And why can’t these countries maintain some ties with Russia and belong in both economic spheres, instead having to be literally taken and cut off from their Russian ties, just so Atlanticists can have their wet dreams of Western dominance!

    • avatar

      Christos Mouzeviris Or, you know, they don’t want to reward a country for blatantly flouting international law. Over and over again.

    • avatar

      John MT really? How? Who’s laws again? Did NATO countries got punished for invading Iraq without UN approval? That wasn’t breaking international law that just was!!

    • avatar

      Christos Mouzeviris I agree !

    • avatar

      Christos Mouzeviris Right, and what’s your point? It was bad that certain NATO countries invaded Iraq without UN approval therefore… let’s let Russia invade a country without UN approval? Or are you just fine with countries invading other countries?

    • avatar

      John MT I’m not fine with any country invading other country but if we want to point the finger towards others then we should be making sure that we are not doing exactly the same. Otherwise we are just hypocrites!

    • avatar

      Christos Mouzeviris Yes, countries behave differently in different times under different leaders. Bush is not Obama is not Trump is not Biden. What matters is what YOU think. Do YOU think we should sanction countries that invade other countries? If so, you should be thrilled the EU is sanctioning Russia!

    • avatar

      John MT I’m not thrilled because as I explain above the motive is not to punish them for “invading” rather to keep them economically weak and out of Europe. My vision is different. Europe independent from either America and Russia but in close cooperation with both. The more it sides with America to spite Russia, Europe will never independent, will always spend billions for arms, and will always do the US dirty work in Eastern Europe. And yes as I am very fair minded person, if I am to condone sanctions against Russia, I’d like to see some for USA please….!! What? No?

  4. avatar

    The EU should not be hostile to Russia , we can´t afford to break with the country . The both EU and Russia need to live in a friendly neighbourly .

  5. avatar

    Why do we need to “cut ties with Russia”? To save USAn markets?Because USA told us to do it? We should start by cutting ties with countries like Saudi Arabia, which imprisons women for driving a car!Then we need to expel all USAn military forces occupying EU, and start investigation into the politicians who put USAn interests ahead of EU’s, because that’s treason.

    • avatar

      George Thomson Why not both Russia and Saudi Arabia?

  6. avatar

    Russia is just saudi with trees….if it wasn’t for countries (notably Germany in eu) falling over themselves to buy their fossil fuel exports, they would be broke.Time for the EU to get serious & break the dependency.

  7. avatar

    Why all this sensitivity on Russia when no such sensitivity is shown towards Turkey, that occupies an EU member state, threatens to invade another member state and persecutes millions of its own citizens? The double standard is too much to bear and Russia may have just realized that. If the EU wants to pursue a human – rights based policy, it could start with Julian Assange and his persecutors, move on to Erdogan and then it might just have the moral superiority to preach to Russia.

    • avatar

      Vivian Dimitriou there is a lot of hypocrisy in everything the EU does not just within the EU as well in Turkey, Syria, and Iran and now UK against brexit.

    • avatar

      Vivian Dimitriou On what basis are you singling out Turkey. It wouldn’t happen to be because you’re from Cyprus? Shouldn’t we just condemn all illiberal countries – be it Hungary, Poland, Turkey, China, Russia or the US under Trump?

    • avatar

      John MT you have chosen to attack me ad hominem. And your point is that no Cypriot can mention Turkey? Please answer my points instead of focusing on my profile.

    • avatar

      Vivian Dimitriou That wasn’t an ad hominem. I’m asking: is the reason you’re mentioning Turkey because of what they’ve done in Cyprus? I found it strange of you to randomly mention Turkey when the topic is about Russia. If we’re going to mention countries not brought up, why not bring up ALL illiberal countries? Let’s ALSO be tougher on Hungary, Poland, China and the rest of the gang.

    • avatar

      John MT the reasons are mentioned in my post. China does not occupy any EU members and PL, HU don’t either. I believe your comments are prejudiced.

  8. avatar

    No. While I fully agree that the way Russia is acting is problematic – to say the least. We should always try to work together in order for everyone to move forward. If we cut ties with Russia, there will be no one to support the democratic movement there still exists within the Russian borders. However, we should still sanction Russia and put pressure on their government in order to secure human rights and freedom for the Russian people. But we can’t do that if we completely cut the ties.

  9. avatar

    I think most people are affected by media which shows only one point of view. Russians have a joke on this topic: “NATO is accusing Russia that Russia comes too close to NATO’s borders and therefore NATO will increase their military budget”. Oh, wait, it is not so joke. Same in relations with Europe unfortunately, too much things might not be as they seem and there is too much of Global politics that we, as normal people, cannot understand and we, unfortunately, learn about our opinion on this topic form the media.

  10. avatar

    We can afford to cut Borrell’s tie at the very least. Half-way down or at knot’s level. Either way I would love to see it…

  11. avatar

    Cutting ties with Putin, but not the Russian people or their fight for a fit for purpose Justice system and the reform of a brutal police department, carrying out the violent will of a vicious dictator. Love & respect to the Russian people who are refusing to accept anymore if the sh÷t that Putin and his cronies have been fishing out for decades. make your vote count and be counted. ❤️

  12. avatar

    We can afford it but we must not. The Russian people are our allies and we must support them to the very end

  13. avatar

    Europe has to show Russia that it means business otherwise Putin’s KGB mentality will keep testing boundaries – it’s as simple as that. The mechanisms to do that are what should be debated until there is regime change in Russia.

  14. avatar

    Unfortunately the price for it will pay russian people as it was always. Not russian oligarchs or government or other leading ones, who are guilty for all the lies, and the unhumanitistic justice of Russia.

  15. avatar

    Let’s be Justice and Impartial : First….Sanctions to Islamofascist Dictator Erdogan and Islamist Turkey that Violates any International Law and don’t respect any Decision of U.N. or ECHR … After, Sanctions to China which is the True Danger of the Civilised World in the future …. And then…maybe … sanctions to Russia ! Dont’ be myopic : Russia is NOT an enemy of Europe….

  16. avatar

    Ordinary,’ thinking’ Europeans, see the EU relationship clearly and it’s time that the EU leaders stop the game and either risk real confrontation or at least be honest about their lack of ability to follow through or backbone to do so. *Note to EU- Russia likely does not give a ____ about what you think, quit pretending that your hands are clean and that anything you do will be more than ‘window dressing.’ Work with them until something in the future changes the rules because we all know that the unexpected can happen quickly and inexplicably.

  17. avatar
    Alain Camu

    We should strive to work out a common strategy with Russia.

  18. avatar
    Marlena Morgan

    No. Not in order to advance American interests that are not ours. No reason for the EU to play the USA game versus Russia, partners we are, not vassals. the whole energy “autonomy” of the EU argument is blatantly false, no one of the proponents of cutting off ties with Russia has explained how come that Northern Stream 2 is subjugation to Russia, but imports of Russian gas through Ukraine is….just fine, as is also the new gas through Turkey to south Europe. How blind do they think we are?

  19. avatar

    “Can we afford to cut ties with Russia?” This is an old perspective of the Cold War ideological confrontation. Ïsn’t democracy a cluster of ideologies promoting pluralism, freedom and libery i.e. catering different interests, different values and way of living.. .? Why a democratic EU wants to cut ties with Russia and give up conciliation?

  20. avatar

    Affordability is not a question, the British has voted for Brexit and London’s financial center status has just been taken away by Amsterdam. It is better to consider whether it is good for Europe. It is very sure that EU would lose its sovereign and independent decision after cutting ties with Russia for EU is too weak to confront the US particularly with its military presence and control of EU military force. Look at the Philippines, President Duterte has cleverly balance among big powers, China, Russia and the US. The country and achieve peace and prosperity by not taking side.

  21. avatar

    Russia is member of Europe. It is unrealistic to cut ties with. Unless the destination of Europe is for the American to become great again.

  22. avatar

    You have nothing to win but only to loose, peace, peace is precious

  23. avatar

    Yeah, yeah we know. Russia is aggressor because it borders the NATO bases. Why don’t Russophobes just find a hobby or even better – a real job.

  24. avatar

    I don’t know about Russia but you’ve obviously decided you can’t afford to lose …. Turkey. Which is why you stomach the occupation and ethnic cleansing of a member state, threats of war against another member state and Taliban-like disrespect towards EU leaders and policies. Just pay Russia the respect it deserves and stop these vastly Russophobic overtures.

  25. avatar

    Ukraine and the EU are paying the price of the geostrategic games in the ex- Yugoslavia….

  26. avatar

    There is a term in Russian – “gopnik”, basically it means – thug, but could be also interpreted as a bully. Russia is a gopnik, and what that means is that it only understands the language of power. Now the trick is that a gopnik is not necessarily more powerful than who it is attacking, but if the subject of the attack does not fight back, the gopnik will most certainly use it to take what it wants to. Solution – do not be so polite and accepting, but slap the gopnik in its face. Of course you are risking a war here, because some gopniks are stupid and even if the risk loosing they will push ahead, but the more you allow a gopnik to think it is ok to do what it does, the further a gopnik will push the limits. If the western world wants to resolve this issue, it just hast to accept what is happening and do what it takes. Now the problem here is that there is already a huge chunk of the wester economy that relies on bloody Russian money channeled trough dirty high level officials and wester banks. Are you ready to rip that tumor out and face a possible collapse, or not? That is the real question here. I don’t think it will happen any time soon.

  27. avatar

    Ukraine is not a member of EU. Due to EU defense policy based on NATO we are aligned on US that has no interest on good partnership Russia/EU.On the otherside Russia is rough and efficient player using force and all the meanings if necessary. As long as EU is fully aligned on US, it won’t be possible to improve our relation with Russia. Decoupling EU from US, not from NATO, by reinforcing european autonomy in matters of defense must be persued as a major priority in any case.

  28. avatar

    Russia is gonna carve another chunk off Ukraine because it can. Germany still wants what Russia will give, so Ukraine is just gonna have to make do with a little less territory.

  29. avatar

    For sure we can!! I don’t need and don’t want the Russian gaz!!!

  30. avatar

    OMG..please think of the consequences of war..Peace please for all our children ..greetings from Ireland..PEACE ☘

  31. avatar

    We cannot avoid strong ties with the biggest European country Russia

  32. avatar

    Remember Russia doesn’t start the wars they only finish them

  33. avatar

    Well, Greta won’t be happy for heating on wood, the business won’t be happy for expensive US gas, but hey, principles are more important. EU has to stand up to Russia, if not with arms, they can always make a pride parade in Brussels.

  34. avatar

    Can Russia afford to cut ties with us?

  35. avatar

    For the security of Europe, Europe need to use Russia and China to balance the power of an aggressive America is required.

  36. avatar

    Cutting ties with Russia is irrational. By making the second military power an enemy would never serve any good for peace, security and prosperity of Europe. Even worse, it is equal to binding EU tighter with a war-monger state, the US and NATO. EU would be dragged in power competition of the US and precious resources have to be waste on arms race, which would sacrifice the security and prosperity of EU …

  37. avatar

    Other small member states are trying to help EU cut ties with Russia and China. If EU is formed for the purpose of collective security, it is to ensure member states would not be used by the US as a proxy for power struggle with Russia and China at the sacrifice of EU collective interests

  38. avatar

    EU Approach: Sanctions; wide programs to fight misinformation in European media; programs to explain European public the Russian-made political narratives (like “anti-Gender” or a”anti-LGBT” crusades) and Russian engegement in Brexit, as well as supporting far-right political parties; expelling agents of Russian interests from the EU; strengthening inner ties in the EU and NATO; blockade of Nord Stream 2 (EU in principle should limit purchase of Russian natural resources and eventually eliminate it).

  39. avatar

    nam,nam,nam,mickey mouse,lechon tiger,white shark,white beard,laugh of cause, LOVE thier people,wish your LUCK,always REMEMBER HEAVEN

  40. avatar

    im not depends on the toppic with Russia!!..i do respect Mr. Putin and what he is trying to do….in certain things he is very forward looking and modernist….he is quite diplomatic..which is refreshing and very appreciated…ive never had any dealings with him..but Europe in my humble oppinion (as an ordinary housewife) should be very diplomatic with sure there is much business to be done of luck and bon courage. from an ordinary housewife from ireland :D

  41. avatar

    Get as much energy independent as possible, the sooner the better.

  42. avatar

    After two betrayals of Afghanistan and the Aukus nuclear proliferation, idiot can understand EU cannot afford to cut ties with Russia, it is a neighbour always there and would not vanish. It is a geopolitical reality. Equally, China is the largest single consumption market and the world factory, economically, EU cannot afford to cut ties with China, EU’s biggest trade partner. Cutting ties with Russia and China serves only American benefit in its confrontation with the two countries but nothing good for EU.

  43. avatar

    In an economical geographical sense, it would not be good not to trade eastwards in general. It would be economically self-limiting to start another back-and-forth with sanctions. With the supply chain problems these days, there shouldn’t be sanctioning just for political reasons.
    I think Borrell did the right thing to try to be positive, even if it had that result.

  44. avatar

    RE – invade ? We are still waiting for him to deliver the first invasion. Lol….Go ahead, cut ties. Winter is here.

  45. avatar

    We invite Russia and Ukraine to join the EU. Boom, problem solved 🙂

  46. avatar

    It would be the most stupid thing to do. Russia is european

  47. avatar

    The EU and Russia need to approach each other with mutual respect, the EU can not tell Russia what to do asan exampel, “liberate Navalnji and the russians should do it . What would the EU do if Russia behaved in the same way ?

  48. avatar

    Cutting ties…….why……if you keep being friends with Saudia Arabia ……if there is enough money in the game……the EU has no probems to be the friend that makes a lapdance…

  49. avatar

    Energy indepedence through nuclear energy should have been a main priority for a long time.

  50. avatar

    Really doesn’t matter since EU’s “foreign policy” (if there even is such a thing) is created in Washington so we have no say in it anyways.

  51. avatar

    Unless Russia refrains from the temptation to conquest Ucrania and to colonise Belarus, the EU will eventually have to reduce ties to a minimum.

  52. avatar

    What a stupid question! Stop playing geostrategic games in the best USA interest’s. What about the Julian Assange…. It’s problem is that he isn’t Russian. 😁

  53. avatar

    We must strengthen ties with Russia the biggest and strongest peaceful European country.

  54. avatar

    We must get closer to Russia. USA are fake friends

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