Russia’s nuclear energy diplomacy in the Middle East: why the EU should take notice

21 February 2017
Marco Giuli (Researcher in EU energy and climate policy, Institute of European Studies, Free University of Brussels)

Russia is hardly a new player in the energy sector of the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). But in the wake of the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the Russian military intervention in Syria, Russia’s nuclear energy diplomacy has received a new impetus in the region. In this Policy Brief, Marco Giuli first outlines Russia’s predicament and political priorities in the MENA after the Arab Spring, before analysing the state of play with respect to Russia’s nuclear energy diplomacy in the region. And finally, it puts into perspective the effectiveness of the energy tool for Russian political ambitions. He furthermore argues that, despite several complementarity factors between Moscow’s political and commercial interests and those of several MENA leaders, a transactional political environment and uncertain market dynamics complicate the prospects for long-term energy deals that require huge investments, and suggest that it is up to Europe, in its own interest, to offer a better vision for the region’s energy future.

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