Homegrown Energy Security for Europe

The EU's dependence on foreign oil is endangering its security, by leaving it dependent on imports from unstable, authoritarian regimes. Europe must increase its production of alternative energy – including biofuels, an option the EU has long neglected.

COPENHAGEN – The European Union is highly dependent on foreign oil. For every 100 liters consumed within the EU, 90 are imported. Meanwhile, domestic oil production is plummeting, down more than 50% over the last decade. Unless the EU changes course and increases its production of alternative energy – including biofuels, an option the EU has long neglected – some 95% of its oil will come from foreign sources by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

The current state of affairs remains the EU’s Achilles’ heel, because it implies dependence on imports from unstable, authoritarian regimes. In 2014, EU member states spent a staggering €271 billion on foreign crude oil – more than the combined GDP of Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Roughly half of this money went to Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Thus, not only is the EU exposed to global supply disruptions; it is also helping to prop up authoritarian governments and empower hostile regimes, which limits its own ability to provide effective, coordinated responses to threats and provocations. The EU’s struggle to devise coherent political and economic strategies to confront the challenges posed by Russian aggression in Ukraine and the inferno in the Middle East is a case in point.

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