Fast-moving events in Ukraine and the Middle East highlight the need for Europe to improve its energy policy. In particular, they underscore Europe’s excessive dependence on Russian energy supply, which poses a major risk to its economic growth prospects. That dependence also constitutes a serious impediment to Europe’s foreign policy, limiting its ability to maneuver, as has been all too clear during the recent U.S. attempt to impose meaningful economic sanctions on Russia for its activities in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
These risks are all the greater for those countries in southeast Europe that have low natural gas inventories and that are excessively dependent on Russian natural gas supply to meet their energy needs.
Additionally, Europe is at a great disadvantage competing with the United States due to energy costs. U.S. natural gas prices are around one-third those in Europe.
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