Russia’s interest in the European Union’s policies is two-fold: the oil and natural gas market between Russia and Europe is heavily interdependent and Russia wishes to use relations with the EU to balance the power of the United States. Russia seeks to be able to influence other nations without being a part of transnational organizations such as NATO and the EU. By existing largely outside of those parameters, Russia is able to work bilaterally with individual countries as well as the organizations as a whole. While Russia no longer openly pits the member states against the EU or NATO as entities, it continues to pursue projects that make a unanimous response to Russia nearly impossible within the EU. By working closely with individual countries, such as Germany and Italy, to build Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines, Russia places tension within the entire organization between the new beneficiaries and the member states of the EU being bypassed. While the new system would ease concerns over supply consistency during conflict between Russia and its near abroad, whether from Russia reducing supply in retaliation, or eastern European countries siphoning gas to meet their own needs, it does not promise increased supply or delivery overall. Russia depends on European customers and the European continent currently depends on Russian oil and gas, by using this interdependence to gain influence over the EU’s policy, Russia gains influence on the international stage for its interests to be considered.
Russia originally used its supply of natural resources to Europe as a force to drive between the U.S.-EU relations, now it wishes to create a triad of power which it would then be included. If Russia were to gain significant influence over the EU in its policy, then the U.S. would have less of a pull over those same member states.