By Alina Sayfutdinova, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science at Carleton University

Energy policy in the European Union: Sovereignty, Interdependence, and the implications of Nordstream II in a multi-polar world

Executive Summary

The last few weeks have witnessed unprecedented tension between the US and the EU over the now nearly-complete Nord Stream 2 pipeline. A new round of American sanctions could target German political figures and has been received by both German and European officials as unwelcome interference in their bilateral energy relations with the Russian Federation. Current Gazprom board member and former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schröder went so far as calling the US position a catalyst for the end of the transatlantic partnership; in any case, the EU’s response will indicate whether or not it chooses to assert its geopolitical independence from the United States. Germany and the EU can either choose to acquiesce to US demands, thereby compromising their long-standing and essential energy interdependence with Russia, or they
can reject American demands and consider counter-measures, which would further inflame already-high tensions between the erstwhile allies. While both the US and the EU have many interests in common, relations with Russia remain essential to the energy security of Germany and of the broader European Union. The widespread unpopularity of the nationalist policies of US President Trump and the ongoing multidimensional crisis in the United States suggest that this may be a good moment for the EU to reject decisively what it has rightly characterized as American interference in its affairs. This memo suggests that this may be the moment for the EU to begin more assertively articulating its independence from the US on the global stage.


This policy memo is one of ten policy memos for the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Program Support for Associations project “Building capacity for Canada’s European Studies community: the European Community Studies Association Canada (ECSA-C) as a research and outreach hub” (ECSA-Cn).

Young ECSA-C scholars from Canada and Europe were invited to come up with policy advise in their respective fields of research in close collaboration with the five ECSA-C research groups: * Democracy/ led by Oliver Schmidtke, University of Victoria; * Environment, Climate Change and Energy/ led by Joan Debardeleben, Carleton University; * Foreign Policy and Security/ led by Frédéric Mérand, Université de Montréal; * Migration/ led by Ruben Zaiotti, Dalhousie University; * Political Economy/ led by Kurt Hübner, University of British Columbia. The initiative Europe Canada Network (, coordinated by Beate Schmidtke, collaborates closely with the ECSA-C team.

The policy memo series is designed to contribute to the public debate on core challenges in public policy making with a particular emphasis on comparative, transatlantic perspectives. It is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union. 


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