| Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy

Caucasus Crisis: Consequences for Russia-EU-Greece relations

Three weeks after Russia completed the pullback of its troops from the buffer zones in Georgia and in light of the upcoming Greek Chairmanship of the OSCE, a group of experts from the economic, political and security field participate in a closed discussion held at ELIAMEP on the ramifications of the Caucasian crisis on the EU – Russia – Greece relations.

The aftermath of the crisis finds Europe divided in its relations with Moscow and has substantiated calls for a common European energy policy. France supports a return to ‘business- as-usual’-strategy and along with Germany, Spain and Italy a further integration of Russia into the European system within the negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).

On the other hand, Poland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the Baltic countries emphasize the dangers of depending on Russia for energy supply and advocate a much more adversarial approach to Moscow. The latter raises concerns on how the relation between the EU and Moscow will be affected by the Czech presidency of the EU in 2009.

The speakers agreed that Europe and Russia are destined to remain natural partners mostly due to their interdependence. Russia has found in Europe its greatest partner in terms of natural gas export and Europe relies on Russian gas flowing into the continent (Nord Stream, South Stream) as there is no alternative supplier that can adequately meet Europe’s energy needs.

Participants discussed a number of proposals for policy action under the Greek Chairmanship of the OSCE, including the following:

– Promotion of the idea of a common European energy policy

– Enhancement of further negotiations on the new PCA and

– Development of a substantive ongoing dialogue with Russia on energy matters.

Group of experts (Dr. Thanos Dokos, Professor Panayotis Ioakimides, Mr. Constantinos Maniatopoulos, Dr. Christos Kollias, Associate Professor, University of Thessaly, Dr. Charalambos Tsardanides, Mr. Nikolaos Toskas, and Professor Theodore Couloumbis)

Athens, 29 October 2008

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