Putin’s Abandonment of South Stream Gas Pipeline is an Historically Significant Victory for EU Energy Security

The announcement by Russian President Putin and state-owned Gazprom that they are abandoning the South Stream pipeline project marks a rare, but highly meaningful victory for the European Union’s so-called Third Energy Package, adopted by the European Commission on September 19, 2007.  The Third Energy Package was designed to strengthen European energy security and diversify away from continued, inordinate dependency on Russian natural gas supplies to the continent.  Although Putin sought to cushion the blow publicly by announcing a substantial expansion of gas supplies to a more pliant Turkey (via the construction of a new pipeline) and the creation of a gas hub on the Greek border, it does little to disguise the scale of this Russian commercial, strategic and political defeat.  Moscow can be expected to stealthily counter this tougher EU stand by an even more aggressive strategic push to expand the regional footprint of nuclear giant Rosatom which can secure 30–50 year dependencies of the countries it successfully penetrates.