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First Groningen-Moscow Conference on EU-Russian Energy Law

Legal Aspects of Guaranteeing EU-Russian Security of Energy Demand and Supply


Prof. dr. Martha Roggenkamp (Groningen Centre of Energy Law, University of Groningen) and dr. Nikolay Kaveshnikov (Moscow State Institute of International Relations)

Based on an academic initiative of dr. Anatole Boute (University of Aberdeen Centre for Energy Law, fellow GCEL)


Interdependence in the energy sector is a central feature of the relationship between Russia, the European Union and its Member States. Recent events have once more highlighted the essential importance, and, at the same time, the fundamental challenges that this interdependence represents for the security of energy demand and supply of the European and Russian partners. These events have revived the twin debates on how to secure the supply of Russian energy resources to the EU whilst guaranteeing a stable demand for Russian energy from the European market.

The law is called on to play a central role in dealing with the challenges that characterize EU-Russian energy relations. The approaches that the EU and Russian partners have adopted in this respect vary. While EU institutions have restated their desire to see Russia ratifying the Energy Charter Treaty, Russia has denounced the inefficiency of this instrument, in particular during the recent crises, and proposes instead that the legal architecture governing international energy relations should be modernized. Differences between the EU and Russia are also apparent in the negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between them, and in the implementation by the EU’s Member States of the Third Energy Package.

The difficulties encountered regarding the institutionalization of EU-Russian energy relations can be explained by the strategic importance of the energy sector for the EU and Russia. The challenges characterizing this relationship are often exacerbated by the politicization, contradictory interpretations, and misperceptions of underlying legal notions. Moreover, EU-Russian cooperation can be frustrated by different legal – as well as social and cultural – understandings and representations by the Russian and European counterparts. On the other hand, the strategic importance of the energy sector forces the European and Russian partners to avoid a ‘zero-sum’ strategy. EU-Russian energy interdependence can provide for mutual long term benefits. The main question is therefore how to institutionalize the EU-Russian energy relationship so as to achieve this win-win situation. The potential for mutually beneficial synergies through deep cooperation in the field of energy has recently been clearly reaffirmed in the Roadmap EU-Russia Energy Cooperation until 2050 that Commission Oettinger and Minister Novak signed in March of this year.

Despite the crucial role of law in the creation of a sustainable and balanced EU-Russian energy relationship, the academic debate has, until now, primarily been concerned with political and economic issues, taking attention away from the legal component of the issues at stake. Moreover, the debate has often been unilateral, focusing either on the European or on the Russian approach to the problem.

This conference proposes to fill the gaps in the academic debate on the EU-Russian energy relationship. It aims to analyze the main legal concepts and legal technicalities that underlie the EU and Russia’s respective desires for guaranteed energy supply and demand. In particular, it will focus on the legal instruments that form the regulatory basis of EU-Russian energy relations. More than ten years after the initiation of the EU-Russian Energy Dialogue, this legal analysis should provide a strong basis for examining new proposals that aim to institutionalize cooperation between them in the energy sector.

By adopting a purely legal approach, this conference will analyze the current negotiations between the European and Russian partners from a new perspective, avoiding the politicization that affects the ongoing discussions. Moreover, in order to improve the mutual understanding between the Russian and European partners, this conference proposes to analyze all relevant aspects from the perspective of both Russian and European leading lawyers or experts active in the field of the regulation of energy markets in the EU-Russian context. The idea is to have every topic presented by both a European and Russian speaker. Such an EU-Russian academic debate could pave the way for the achievement of a balanced reciprocal relationship in this field of common interest.


30 and 31 May 2013


Groningen, The Netherlands

Why Groningen? Holding the biggest gas reserves of the European Union, the region of Groningen and the Netherlands in general are familiar with the legal challenges faced by energy-producing and exporting countries. At the same time, they are confronted with the difficulties raised by the EU-driven integration of energy markets. As a result, much legal experience has been accumulated both with the management of relations with upstream energy companies and with downstream consumers within the internal energy market. Groningen is therefore well-placed amongst European regions to understand and analyze issues raised by supplying energy to the EU, and the legal complexities of operating within European energy markets.

Russian gas is expected to play an important role in the long term future development of the Dutch energy sector. The Groningen gas fields are therefore strategic for the European and Russian partners. Tight relations have been developed between the energy actors in Groningen and their Russian partners.

The Groningen Centre of Energy Law, in cooperation with the University of Aberdeen, proposes to examine these economic challenges from a legal perspective in cooperation with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University).



Report and Publication:

Two rapporteurs will be involved to summarize the outcome of the discussions. The aim is to provide some recommendations concerning developments and/or amendments to the legal system.

Presentations made at the conference may be followed by the publication of an edited book. The aim of this publication would be to assist the European and Russian authorities and market players in the discussion of a new EU-Russian or international energy regime by providing them with a strong legal analysis of the issues at stake.


Attending the conference is free of charge.

Last modified:28 May 2019 4.35 p.m.