By David A. Merkel, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and Director at the National Security Council, the United States, and the US liaison for The Bosphorus Energy Club.
I would like to thank Chairman Rohrabacher, Ranking Member Keating and the Members of the House Foreign
Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats for the opportunity to testify today. Further,
I would like to commend the Committee for exploring this topic today. Too often, the issue of energy
security, or Eurasia more broadly, tends to be discussed in reaction to steps planned and carried out
by Moscow or Beijing. Events in Ukraine, as was the case with events in Georgia in 2008, require a well
considered proactive approach.
In the time I have with you today, I would like to make an assertion, a couple of historical points and a few
Russia as Gas Station to Europe
When I talk with our European allies about the leverage Moscow has because of Europe’s dependence on Gazprom to
keep their showers warm, they are often reluctant to pursue policies that result in the diversification of
their hydrocarbon imports because they – notably Berlin – fear that Moscow would react negatively and
their supply and other considerable business relationships would be interrupted. Europe receives
more then 30 percent of its gas from Russia. While they see clearly the leverage that Russia has over the
European Union as a supplier of energy, they often undervalue the fact that both suppliers and customers
of energy have leverage. Even European Union documents, that my Russian interlocutors love to
reference, conclude that Russia is more important to the European Union than the EU is to Moscow.
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