European Energy Security and Transatlantic Cooperation: A Current Assessment



Richard L. Morningstar, Andras Simonyi, Olga Khakova, and Irina Markina | Atlantic Council

The transatlantic community has made significant progress leveraging global energy resources to increase energy security, thanks to technological advancements in renewable energy, energy efficiency, shale oil extraction; the development of alternative sources and routes; and new infrastructure. However, security challenges for European energy continue to arise as malign actors use energy for geopolitical coercion, communities around the globe grapple with the realities of climate change, and geopolitical conflicts threaten the security of supply and access to sustainable resource development. Transatlantic cooperation on energy security will be essential to addressing those global challenges and should be prioritized by US and European Union (EU) leadership, since energy security translates into national, political, and economic security.

Despite tensions in the areas of trade and sanctions, and growing nationalism on both sides of the Atlantic, energy security has been, and should continue to be, at the pinnacle of US-EU collaboration. US and EU energy security interests also have a strong economic component, as trade between the two totaled $1.3 trillion in 2018. Moreover, 54 percent of global investment into the US comes from Europe, while 64 percent of US global investment goes to Europe. US companies’ investments in Europe have produced 4.7 million jobs, while European companies’ investments in the United States have created 4.3 million jobs. In addition to their mutually beneficial economic relationship, the United States and EU hold shared values regarding the importance of the free market, rule of law, and democratic societies. A united and well-connected Europe is a more resilient Europe, and the United States benefits in many ways from having a strong ally with vast energy investment opportunities. US engagement in European energy security is motivated by national strategic priorities, mutual economic interests, and transatlantic interests in liberalized and integrated energy markets.

Engagement in European energy security also presents an opportunity to reinvigorate transatlantic ties with US allies in times of uncertainty and transformational change across the energy sector.

This brief provides an overview of the current energy security landscape in Europe. This series will continue to appraise the progress made to liberalize and integrate EU energy markets, which is imperative to identify where US engagement on EU energy security will be most effective, and it will explore obstacles to the efficient functioning of EU energy markets and pinpoint priorities for US and EU cooperation.



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