Securitization and state encroachment on the energy sector: Politics of exception in Poland's energy governance

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Publishes in Energy Policy, online 28 October 2019


As energy security becomes a key topic of policy debates, not least in Central and Eastern European states, which are vulnerable to gas supply disruptions from Russia, it has been suggested that EU energy policy becomes ‘securitized’. However, full securitization attempts, which not only identify threats but also call for exceptional measures to deal with them, are relatively rare in the energy sector. Why do governmental actors initiate securitizing moves aimed at implementing exceptional measures in the energy sector, and what explains the acceptance of certain moves or measures and dismissal of others? This paper looks at Poland, comparing two examples of such moves. Drawing on a primary document analysis, the paper shows how a shared socio-technical imaginary provided an anchor for the successful securitization of the nuclear project, while liberal market discourses limited audience acceptance of the securitizing move in the power sector. Securitization appears to be a mechanism triggered when core state powers over energy are challenged from below (civil society, market actors) and above (supranational institutions), particularly in already securitized contexts. The paper concludes with the value added of Securitization Theory for energy policy studies and lays out a Critical Energy Security Studies agenda, which can build on it.


Open access article available at Elsevier.

Published Oct. 29, 2019 3:19 PM - Last modified Oct. 29, 2019 3:19 PM