The article seeks to answer the question of how liberal or realistic the world viewpoint is in the energy policies that the EU has developed against Russia since 2009. The energy policies of the EU cover mechanisms that are too complex to be explained merely with a neoliberal or neorealistic orientation. In this context, the main hypothesis of the present study is based on the viewpoint that the concept best explaining the energy policies adopted by the EU against Russia is liberal mercantilism. In general, the foreign policy of the EU towards Russia is shaped within the framework of neoliberal tendencies. However, it is also possible to argue that the EU does not approach the energy security problem completely neoliberally. In fact, when the EU is creating its energy policies towards Russia, it does not ignore the economic power elements on the mercantilist/realist basis. In the paper, liberal mercantilist approaches implemented by the EU towards Russia are explained with the concepts of regulatory and economic power. In EU energy policy context, while regulatory power means the liberal essence of liberal mercantilistic strategy, economic power reflects realistic face of this strategy. The effect of the liberal mercantilist approach in the EU’s energy policy has started to show itself more clearly as of 2009. In this context, it has been emphasized in relevant study that Third Energy Package, which was accepted and came into force in 2009, pointed to an important transformation in the energy policies of EU against Russia. Since that date, even tough EU energy policy protected its liberal essence, it noticeably began to contain realist power elements. It has been stated that both the unbundling of services and ’’destination clauses’’ in the relevant energy package of EU, as well as the measures taken by EU against Russian geopolitical moves regarding South Stream Natural Pipeline Project in 2012, were regulatory power practises, which prevent monopolization in EU energy market from liberal point of view. However, it has been also stated that ‘’Gazprom Clause’’ in the energy package and other initiatives such as NABUCCO Project, Southern Gas Corridor and Energy Union, which were initiated later, are political and geopolitical moves of EU against Russia on the basis of economic power. Although the energy relations of the actors became worse, the EU paid maximum attention not to securitize the EU-Russia relations over the energy problem. The elements of regulatory power and economic power were used together in this period.
Energy security, power approaches, liberal mercantilism, Russia, the energy policy of the EU