Slowly but surely? Assessing EU actorness in energy sanctions against Russia

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The ongoing Russian war against Ukraine has brought the energy policy of the European Union (EU) back to the headlines. The reaction of the EU and its member states to the unfolding energy crisis, has cast doubts on their ability to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy. Indeed, the ten packages of sanctions adopted by the EU against Russia since February 2022 show only limited and late measures taken in the energy field: a tardive coal ban, limited measures on oil, significant exemptions for member states and no measures at all on gas or nuclear. Building on the literature on actorness and on process-tracing analysis, the article explores the extent to which the variety of energy policy preferences across EU member states have affected the packages of sanctions. The article suggests that member states preferences have a significant impact on the final packages of sanctions due to the level of energy dependence from Russia, existence of alternative sources, commercial interests and the features of the energy source in question.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2024


  • European Union
  • energy security
  • actorness
  • EU external energy relations
  • sanctions
  • European Commission


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