Presentation of Project Findings:
“Nordic-Baltic Security in Times of Uncertainty: The Defence-Energy Nexus”
On 15 March 2018 the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) hosted the presentation of findings from the joint research project of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and NUPI titled Nordic-Baltic Security in Times of Uncertainty: The Defence-Energy Nexus. It was the third meeting promoting the project’s final report, which provides recommendations for closer cooperation between Poland and Norway. The event was also an opportunity for the exchange of Polish and Norwegian perspectives on regional security. Guests in attendance at the event included diplomats and government officials.
The event was opened by Marcin Terlikowski, Head of the International Security Programme at PISM, and Jakub Godzimirski, expert on Russian energy and security policy at NUPI. In the first panel, the experts presented the main findings of the report regarding close interrelation between defence and energy issues in the Nordic-Baltic region. Wojciech Lorenz discussed the main changes in the European security architecture after the Cold War. He pointed out that while the USSR sought to preserve the status quo, Russia wants to change current international order.
The second panel gathered four speakers: Agnieszka Legucka (PISM), Bartosz Bieliszczuk (PISM), Jakub Godzimirski (NUPI), and Karsten Friis (NUPI). Agnieszka Legucka highlighted that Germany plays an important role in the EU’s Eastern policy. She noted that until recently Germany had perceived Russia mainly as a trade partner, but is increasingly seen as a security challenge. Ms. Legucka also pointed out that by building Nord Stream 2 Germany wants to become a gas supply “middleman” and a guarantor of security of supplies from the unpredictable partner - Russia. However, she stated that the situation around Nord Stream 2 is dynamic and Germany’s stance could be changed by pressure from their NATO and EU partners. Bartosz Bieliszczuk stressed the impact of energy infrastructure (including Nord Stream 2) on security in the Baltic Sea region. The strategic export pipelines of Russia build the country’s interdependence between NATO and EU countries, and thus increase Russian economic and political influence. At the same time, NATO and EU strategic infrastructure in the region (e.g. Polish LNG Terminal or the Baltic Pipe connecting Poland and Denmark) does not have economic significance for Russia and could become a target of aggressive actions in the event of crisis or conflict.
The audience actively participated in the discussion, posing questions about the probability of blocking the construction of Nord Stream 2. According to PISM experts, this would be difficult but possible. Nord Stream 2 could be stopped by the accumulation of business risks associated with the project: new U.S. sanctions, need to find new route for offshore Denmark, and application of the EU regulations to the project. Some participants also asked about perspectives of the development of renewable energy in Poland, arguing that it could strengthen Polish energy security.