Pipeline demagogy? : The EU’s framing of Russia in the policy realms of decarbonization and energy security before and after the annexation of Crimea in 2014
Sammanfattning: How the EU frames Russia before and after the Crimean annexation betters our understanding of the motives and incentives behind a securitized unanimity in EU energy policy and decarbonization given previous internal dissensus. Europe’s energy transition and security policy is contingent upon Russian relations, considering its gas dependency. Given the 2022 Ukrainian invasion, studying past rhetorical change instigated within the EU is relevant, using the 2014 annexation as a potential catalyst. Russian energy flows reaching the EU are decreasingly predictable since they pass through key transit states like Ukraine. An overview of recent EU-Russian normative trajectories becomes appropriate as the EU tackles an energy crisis and is interconnected with an unreliable energy provider. Complex interdependence is used to explain the EU’s framing of Russia in energy relations, where mutual dependence, vulnerability and sensitivity to policy change define the states’ well-being, as postulated by Keohane and Nye. Marco Siddi’s conflict-cooperation dichotomy on the Russian Other supplements the framing analysis. An abductive coding approach forms the methodology, where the chosen material may inform the codes, alongside conceptual themes generated beforehand. The frames are applied to EU-parliamentary policy briefings, commission frameworks and bilateral EU-Russian roadmaps spanning between 2011-2016 with three yielded frames: ‘Commercial ties and sunk costs’, ‘Jeopardized security order’, and ‘Fossil-bound authoritarianism’. These frames are divided into pre-and post-annexation sections. The outcome points to attitude shifts in the EU, from perceiving Russia as a Cooperative Other to an Antagonistic Other. This manifests itself within energy security realms and partly in decarbonization. All three frames imply an EU-Russian bilateral relationship entrenched with sunk costs and commitments—with ideological rifts widening in energy security where the EU frames Russia as a normative and contractual violator. The changed framing of Russia may thus help explain how EU energy policy experienced recent change.
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