On 14 November, the Politics and International Relations Department at Canterbury Christ Church University hosted various panels as a part of their ongoing Energy and Governance Workshop Series. Led by Jean Monnet Chair and Senior Lecturer in Politics/IR, Dr Amelia Hadfield, the topic of European Union and Russian Relations was discussed in detail, with panels involving well-known experts on the topic including our own Peter Vujakovic, Professor of Geography in the School of Human and Life Sciences at CCCU, and Simon Pirani, Lecturer of Russian History at CCCU as well as an Oxford Energy Studies Senior fellow. Other guest speakers included Thomas Sattich from the Global Governance Institute and Tatiana Romanova from St. Petersberg Institute in Russia. The core topics revolved around energy security and economic activity within and around the European Union and Russia, as well as their relationship, for better or for worse.
The presenters illuminated the topic of EU-Russia Energy relations with a range of perspectives and insight. In particular the speakers emphasised the symbiotic relationship of EU member states and Russia through the paradigm of consumer and producer. Moreover the complexity of the EU-Russia energy market was a central theme and the speakers were pessimistic both on the development of a single EU energy market to challenge Russia energy pricing and on Russia ‘turning off the gas’ to the EU.
This holistic approach to each of these topics allowed for a different lens to view each of the topics, and provided for great discussions following each panel, headed up by Sarah Lieberman of the Politics Department and PhD Candidate Kira Shevchenko of the business school. The half day conference generously funded by the Future Initiatives encouraged collaboration between students and professionals alike while having an enjoyable atmosphere for a difficult topic. The Energy and Governance Group would like to thank all participants and individuals who came out to this great event, and remind colleagues to keep an eye out for our Spring 2015 event on the ‘European Energy Union’.