European Integration and the Changing Paradigm of Energy Policy: The case of natural gas liberalisation

This article investigates and interprets changes in EU energy policy from an innovative, neo-institutionalist perspective.

ARENA Working Paper 13/2000 (html)

Svein S. Andersen

Up to the 1980s EU energy policy was regarded as a spectacular failure. 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 decision were taken at the central EU level. However, since the late 1980s a number of important EU initiatives have been taken to strengthen the supranational influence over particular energy sectors. Such changes are in line with, but unique versions of, global trends towards liberalisation.

The focus for this article is the development towards a common EU energy policy, with an emphasis on the transformation of EU natural gas policy (and markets) over the last decade. The objective is to develop a neo-institutional sociological perspective to better understand such transformations. The article emphasises the relationship between key theoretical ideas from neo-sociological institutional theory and their implications for transformations of policies and institutions. It is not a policy analysis in a conventional sense, but rather an attempt to link Europeanisation of policy to European integration.

Tags: energy policy, Europeanization, institutionalism, policy coordination
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM