EU Energy Policy: Interest Interaction and Supranational Authority

This paper accounts for the development of a common energy policy in the EU during the 1990s, aspiring to draw broader conclucions about the dynamic of supranational integration.

ARENA Working Paper 05/2000 (html)

Svein S. Andersen

Energy policy is characterised by strong conflicts between a common policy, on the one hand, and divergent national policies, on the other. The focus here is the emergence of a common EU energy policy during the 1990s. Despite its inclusion in the very first treaties on the European Community energy was until very recently more or less unaffected by common market legislation, and few energy policy decisions were taken at the central EU level. The most important changes in the last few years are related to the internal market directives on the electricity and gas markets.

A key to understanding the emerging common energy policy is how the EU – as an institutional framework and a set of central institutional actors – interacts with underlying interests in the energy sector in the different stages of the EU development. This interaction demonstrates the problem of defining collective interests and the impact of the EU's political cycles. The development of energy – and especially petroleum – policy during the 1990s in the EU is of particular attention in this chapter. Central questions are: What drives the development in this policy area? How is a common EU energy policy linked to the development of EU institutions and the movement towards The European Union? Under what conditions can we expect a development of supranational authority and common EU policy?

Tags: supranationalism, energy policy, integration theory
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM