Turning to Algeria to replace Russian gas: A false solution

By Reinhilde Bouckaert, doctoral researcher and Claire Dupont, assistant professor of European and International Governance at the Department of Public Governance and Management, Ghent University

C3E Policy brief 2/2022

Europe is grappling to respond adequately to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But the EU’s urgent wish to free itself from Russian fossil fuels should not result in too-hasty friendships with alternative fossil fuel suppliers. The authors argue that any EU or member state plans to import more gas from Algeria to replace Russian energy sources is the wrong course of action for three reasons.

  • First, Algeria is also an authoritarian state, like Russia, that uses gas exports as a political weapon.
  • Second, Algeria is a loyal friend and ally of Russia.
  • And, third, EU demands for more gas threaten to delay both the EU’s and Algeria’s own green energy transition.

Relying on Algerian gas would be incoherent with the broader EU aims to promote democratic values and to implement the (external dimension of the) European Green Deal. The real answer to replacing fossil fuels from Russia must be to accelerate the energy transition away from fossil fuels. 

The transition to decarbonisation, and the avoidance of further use of energy as political weapon towards EU member states, requires focused, long-term planning, diplomacy and investment.