Publications from the Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences, Lithuania

vilnus institeIIRPS VU scholars in cooperation with NUPI finalized the joint report on energy relations in the Baltic Sea Region

 

IIRPS VU in cooperation with Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) is implementing the project “Energy security and the Baltic Sea Region: regional coordination and management of interdependence”. The main goal of the project is to assess the current situation of energy security in the Baltic Sea Region focusing on the patterns of (asymmetrical) trade interdependencies as well as policy coordination initiatives aimed at managing those interdependencies. The main outcome of the project is a study in a form of a joint report on the nature of energy interdependencies in this region. Prof. Ramūnas Vilpišauskas (IIRPS VU), energy expert Romas Švedas (IIRPS VU) and prof. Jakub M. Godzimirski (NUPI) have finalized the joint report.

The main aim of the study is to map changing energy relations in the Baltic Sea Region, which includes eight EU member states, Norway and Russia, and to explore how energy security and energy policy has evolved in the aftermath of two key watershed events – the 2004 EU enlargement that has changed the political and institutional/regulatory landscape of the region; and the outbreak of the armed conflict in Ukraine that has put the issue of energy security – and security in more general terms – very high on the European political agenda.

The case of the Baltic Sea region is interesting because the policy measures and coordination initiatives have been aimed at redirecting flows of trade in energy resources rather than just managing the existing ones more effectively by agreeing on common rules of managing interdependencies and the methods of implementing them. Differently from the most cases of regional cooperation when policy coordination instruments are used to manage existing interdependencies, some EU member states which acceded in 2004 were still largely isolated from the rest of the EU and remained part of the post-Soviet network of trade in electricity and natural gas. However, the attention of the Baltic States and to some extent Poland was not so much on managing the existing networks of dependency from Russia, but on creating infrastructural and regulatory conditions to provide alternative sources of supply and reduce existing asymmetries of interdependence with one dominant supplier. It is argued that such a policy aimed mostly at achieving several objectives such as introduction of competition to exert pressure on prices set by dominant suppliers and increasing security of supply that was to be achieved by reducing asymmetry of interdependence and by enhancing the coordination of policies and by the use of the common EU norms and involvement of EU institutions to increase the bargaining power vis-à-vis external suppliers like Russia.

Jakub M. Godzimirski, Romas Švedas, Ramūnas Vilpišauskas Energy security in the Baltic Sea Region: regional coordination and management of interdependencies, July 2015, soon will be available at http://www.tspmi.vu.lt/en/news