Reflecting on the East-West division that dominated Europe during the Cold War is essential to understand the diverging social and economic spheres. The high energy intensity of the Eastern Bloc countries also meant a considerable amount of financial resources were expended to support unsustainable energy development. The first large expansion of the EU in 2004 brought in Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Malta, with further expansions in subsequent years. In 2009, Russia and Gazprom entered into financial disputes with countries; marked by the 2009 gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, disrupting the flow of gas to the EU. In 2014, the Energy Union was floated to protect against an assertive Russian gas policy in the East. The governments of Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland have made substantial financial commitments to build new energy infrastructure, such as LNG and nuclear, which reflect both cultural orientation and power.
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