Since the mid-2000s, Southeast Europe (the Balkans and Turkey) has emerged as a potential transit route for Russian natural gas to the EU. Moscow has leveraged investment in the sector, e.g. the privatization of NIS in Serbia, to assert its political interests. Large-scale projects such as South Stream and its successor TurkStream have attracted much attention, but also caused controversy. At the same time, local governments are working to diversify supplies away from Russia, notably by focusing on the so-called Southern Gas Corridor linking consumer countries in the EU and the Balkans to the Caspian. The lecture will take stock of the latest developments in energy geopolitics and explore the strategies of key players: the EU, Russia, and states in Southeast Europe.
Dimitar Bechev (PhD, Oxford) is research fellow at UNC Chapel Hill and nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He is the author of Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe (Yale University Press, 2017).