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The Scope of EU External Governance of Energy in the Neighbourhood After Lisbon

Open Panel

Abstract

Drawing on the concept of functionalist hegemon, this article analyzes the variations in scope of EU external governance of energy in the neighbourhood between ‘before’ and ‘after’ the entry in force of the Lisbon Treaty. It proceeds in three steps. First, this article explores the tri-dimensional, fragmented scope of EU external governance of energy during the pre-Lisbon period. This was the result of the patchy and fuzzy institutional origins of EU relevant energy acquis between 1994 and 2009. Three different sub-sectoral patterns (competitiveness, sustainability and security) of EU governance emerged and, therefore, constrained the scope of EU external governance of energy in the neighbourhood. Second, this article unravels the legal changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in the area of energy, and their implications in terms of EU level governance. Here, the introduction of the qualified majority voting (QMV) is seen to facilitate and increase the scope of EU governance in terms of legalisation of EU rules. Whereas legalisation is generally set to increase, EU governance is likely to suffer from a specific tension between the Member States’ grip on the choice of the national energy mix and the enforcement of EU energy security standards. Third, this article unveils the internal-external continuum of EU energy governance, its potential and limits. Competitiveness and sustainability are arguably to become entangled in one sub-sectoral pattern of external governance, with energy security advancing in a slower motion. Zooming out, the post-Lisbon era sees an increased scope of EU external governance of energy in the neighbourhood, however coupled with a continuous anxiety between transgovernmental networks and renewed interstate cooperation in energy security. In turn, the functionalist hegemonic scope of EU external governance of energy ends when EU rules confront geopolitics of energy -the latter deeply constraining the courses of action of Member States and neighbours.