The Russian Federation and the European Union are natural partners in the energy sector.
The Russian Federation is the 3rd biggest world trade partner of the EU. Energy represents 65% of total EU imports from Russia. Russia is the biggest oil, gas, uranium and coal importer to the EU. In 2007, 44.5% of total EU’s gas imports (150bcm), 33.05% of total EU’s crude oil imports, and 26% of total EU coal imports came from Russia. In total, around 24% of total EU gas sources are originating from Russia. In general, energy dependency varies significantly between different Member States / regions in the EU.
The EU is by far the largest trade partner of the Russian Federation: 45% of Russia imports originate from the EU, and 55% of its exports go to the EU, including 88% of Russia's total oil exports, 70% of its gas exports and 50% of its coal exports. The export of raw materials to the EU represents around 40% of the Russian budget, and the EU represents 80% of cumulative foreign investments in Russia.
Based on this mutual interdependency and common interest, the EU and Russia have developed a close energy partnership and have launched in 2000 an EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.
The energy partnership aims at improving the investment opportunities in the energy sector to ensure continued energy production, to secure and expand transportation infrastructure as well as to improve their environmental impact. Other important objectives are to encourage the opening up of energy markets, to facilitate the market penetration of more environmentally friendly technologies and energy resources, and to promote energy efficiency and energy savings on the way to a low-carbon economy.
In particular following the gas crisis from 2009, it is essential to reinforce mutual confidence and to establish a strong and stable legal framework for EU-Russia energy relations. The EU and Russia in 2007 launched negotiations on a new comprehensive EU-Russia Agreement where energy provisions are an important part of the discussions.
In November 2009, the Commission and the Russian government signed an "Early Warning Mechanism" [link] to ensure rapid communication and to prevent further supply interruptions in the field of gas, oil or electricity.