|EU sanctions on Russia: Who holds the key?|
On paper the EU has a strong hand with Russia. Russia is the third largest trading partner of the EU and the EU is the largest trading partner of Russia and runs a large deficit.
|Germany accounts for a large proportion |
of the EU's trade with Russia (Eurostat 2013)
However, there is another important factor that counts against the EU. For although the EU is a large trading partner, 80% of the EU's imports from Russia are energy. This dependancy is particulay acute for gas - as you can see from the chart below, the Baltic States, the Finns, Czechs, Slovaks and Bulgarians are, according to Eurostat, 100% dependant on Russian gas. A mild winter and a relatively large European stockpile of gas means this risk is perhaps less critical than it might have been in previous years, but it could still cause them severe problems if this dispute were to escalate.
|Eurostat (Oct 2012)|
So on sanctions, an EU-US good cop/bad cop routine has an element of European self-interest to it.