Flows resumed within days, but the sudden cut-off -- ascribed to overdue transit payments -- highlights Central Europe’s dependence on Russian oil imports and the difficulty of securing seaborne alternatives quickly. Flows via Druzhba’s northern leg to Poland and Germany were uninterrupted. The incident revealed a lack of solidarity amid restricted supplies in neighbouring countries and tight markets.
- Central European credit ratings have deteriorated, as energy insecurity has knock-on effects on growth and public finances.
- Short-term priorities (refugees, defence and the cost-of-living crisis) will lack fiscal space.
- Similarly affected will be long-term priorities including healthcare, education and effective use of EU funds.
- Soaring energy prices, inadequate policy responses and rationing may expose fragile democracies to social unrest and populism.