While most of us are starting to get ready for the summer holidays, and preparing to enjoy the
warmth that comes at this time of the year, a storm is brewing. A very cold storm is heading our
way, and there is no one else to blame but ourselves, and our politicians’ inability to enact
legislation that protects its own citizens. So what is this storm all about? We are heading
straight into an energy crisis created by ourselves by banning Russian energy imports, and it is
tearing Europe apart.
Banning Russian energy imports – longterm effects
We all know how terrible the war in Ukraine is, and we are both sympathetic and supportive of
the cause of the Ukrainian people. However, the way we choose to support Ukrainians, or in this
case to weaken their opponent, should not threaten our own livelihood as Europeans.
European leaders decided to ban most of the energy imports from Russia, and that means that
about 90% of all European oil imports from Russia will be banned. Additionally, Europe wants to
cut natural gas imports from Russia by ⅔ by the end of the year.
So why does that matter so much? Are you in favor of giving more money to Putin so he
can kill Ukrainians? Aren’t you against Putin, or are you supporting Russia?
Well, this has nothing to do with supporting one faction of an armed conflict or the other, in fact,
it is all about our own security and safety as Swedish and European citizens. We are not energy
self-sufficient in Europe, which means that we have to keep importing natural gas, and oil to
meet our energy needs, and one of the countries we have relied on the most over the last years
has been Russia.
It makes sense, Russia is just around the corner, and the cost of carrying oil and gas through
pipelines is cheap. This has allowed us for years to have a relatively low electricity bill while
having grid stability, ensuring that we don’t have blackouts which is something most of us
certainly take for granted.
Europe’s energy dependency on Russia
As of today, Europe is completely dependent on Russia to keep meeting its energy needs. Let’s
look at how dependent Europe is on Russia:
● 30% of the coal comes from Russia
● 40% of the natural gas
● 27% of the oil imports
What this means is that we are so dependent on energy from Russia, that we can’t even replace
one source of energy with another.
What is Sweden’s energy self-sufficiency?
While most countries in Europe are not energy self-sufficient, Sweden is actually one of the
best, and we only rely on 33.5% of energy imports.
If we look at how this oil ban could impact our energy prices, we also see that we are one of the
European countries that import the least amount of oil from Russia.
However, this does not mean that our electricity prices will not be affected. In fact, this Russian
energy ban will inevitably increase energy costs around the world, but in Europe specifically.
It even poses a threat to Finland joining NATO, because of its dependency on Russian oil
Banning Russian energy imports is tearing Europe apart
Obviously, some of the European countries that rely the most on energy imports from Russia
are not happy at all about this ban. On one hand, they will have to establish new relations with
other countries, and also the cost to import will increase, which in turn means higher electricity
prices for their populations. Some of the most outspoken countries have been Hungary, the
Czech Republic, and Slovakia, which rely heavily on Russian oil imports for their economy to
Hungary has since been exempted from the Russian oil ban, which allows the country to import
Russian oil. This creates another crack in the relations between European Union countries since
some laws only apply to some countries. It is even possible that Europe is taking this measure
because it knows it will not be able to cut oil and natural gas imports from Russia, so Hungary
can import them and then move them around across European countries.
What is the plan after banning Russian energy imports?
What is truly scary is that this ban seemed to be rushed into it. We can’t seriously consider
stopping all the energy imports from Russia without having a clear plan on what to do next. We
have to replace the energy we import from Russia in a very short time, and it does not seem
Europe’s plan is entitled REPowerEU, which aims to replace the fossil fuels imported from
Russia with renewable energy. Despite the good intentions of the EU leaders, it is not feasible to
entirely cut our dependence on fossil fuels, and whether we like it or not, Russia remains an
important player in the fossil fuel market, in coal, gas, and oil.
Where are Russian oil and gas going to go?
Russia will still keep selling its oil and gas, even if Europe decides that they are not buying.
India and China have already started buying the oil, that Europeans and Americans do not want.
We could have a situation where China and India, end up supplying Europe with oil and gas that
This would be a disaster because we are basically forcing oil and gas to travel around the world
because we want to avoid giving money to Putin, while in the end Russia still benefits.
Given that Hungary was exempted from the Russian oil ban, we could see Hungary supplying
European countries with this oil.
The policies that got us here
Although it might seem like there is nothing we can do, there actually is. We can look in the past
and try to understand exactly what policies European leaders implemented that got us here.
One of them has been the constant underinvestment in oil production in the EU. Obviously, we
care about the environment, but constantly reducing oil production is not going to help us. In
fact, it will just leave us completely dependent on other countries that actually produce oil.
In a similar way, we have also cut gas production which left us even more dependent on Russia.
The sad conclusion is that in our own fight against climate change, we took measures that were
not beneficial to ourselves. Leaving us completely dependent on other countries to export their
fossil fuels for us. Maybe taking energy policy advice from a 17-year-old was not such a good
idea after all.
These issues with coal, gas, and oil are not the only problem we have. In fact, during January
and February of this year, we have seen one of the biggest spikes in electricity prices across
Europe. This is another reason for alarm because most likely the prices will be even higher next
If we also add the fact that we have been seeing increases in prices across the board due to
inflation, we could have a very serious issue at hand. The fact that prices are rising, with this
energy crisis, could mean that some people will not be able to warm themselves and their
homes over the next winter.
Who is going to be affected the most by this energy crisis?
Unfortunately, amidst this incoming crisis, the lower-income brackets will face a lot more
consequences, and many of them will not be able to heat their homes through the winter. There
is still no plan to deal with this, and despite the good intentions of most of the European leaders,
we are still unprepared for what is coming.
How European politicians are dealing with this energy crisis
Unfortunately, the European leaders are the only ones to blame for the disastrous energy
policies that got us here. There is very little to do now since all of the decisions have been
made. We all want to help the planet and make it more sustainable, but we still do not have the
capabilities to make every energy source in the world renewable. The transition has to be slow,
and steady. It is impossible to change in a few years the energy sources we have heavily relied
on in the past.
The next winter is going to be a challenge not only for each and every one of us but also for the
European Union, which might turn into disunion after all. What started as an economic alliance
has turned into a sort of federal government agency that oversees most European countries,
and takes decisions without fully pondering the consequences.