Most Balkan states will now give up on South Stream

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Significance

In the weeks after the energy earthquake generated by Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that Russia was cancelling plans to construct the South Stream gas pipeline across the Black Sea, tremors and aftershocks are still reverberating around South-Eastern Europe. Hopes that the announcement was a bluff intended to increase Russia's bargaining power with Brussels, or that South Stream can be revived, seem misconceived.

Impacts

  • Passing the blame for the cancellation onto the EU is unlikely to work, in part thanks to the way in which Putin broke the news.
  • Russia will lose significant leverage over the participant countries, particularly those in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
  • The biggest winner could be the EU, assuming it steps into the energy vacuum and helps countries secure alternative supply routes.
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