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Post-Lisbon EU Energy Policy-Making: How the Changes in the Treaty will Affect the EU’s Existing Position in the Global Energy Politics?

Open Panel

Abstract

Today, EU energy consumption represents 15 per cent of world energy consumption, second only to the US (20 per cent). The dominant fuel in the EU is oil with 37 per cent but natural gas is by far the fastest growing source of energy due to climate change concerns, accounting for 25 per cent of consumption in 2009. The EU’s current energy-import dependency rate is 56 per cent, expected to rise 67 per cent by 2020. The largest reserves, accessible to the EU, are in politically or economically insecure regions like Russia, North Africa and the Middle East or in the Greater Caspian. Therefore, conflicts in the energy producing regions, problems related to transit, price fluctuations, climate change and increasing dependency on foreign imports have created a rising sense of urgency in the EU. In a period of growing dependence on imported oil and natural gas, challenges are arising that require a re-evaluation of present EU policies and the consideration of possible strategies for the maintenance of the security of energy and diversification of supply. Accordingly, a new energy title is introduced in Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) which empowers the EU to adopt new legislation, not only for the sake of the internal energy market, but also to ensure security of supply, diversification and the development of new and renewable forms of energy. However, the new Energy Title does not go beyond confirming the status quo. This article looks at how the ToL is likely to affect EU energy policy-making and negotiation in the field of external energy policy concerning pipeline politics. So the question here is not whether the ToL will enable the EU to become an effective actor, but how the changes in the Treaty will affect the EU’s existing position in the global energy politics.