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Energy Security and the New Member States of the EU

Matúš Mišík
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
Matúš Mišík
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
Open Panel

Abstract

The eastern enlargement was a milestone in European integration. Due to a big number of newcomers the enlargement was expected to change the nature of the EU. But after joining the European Union, the new member states only slowly started to pursue their preferences. One of the few preferences that they clearly strive for at the EU level is willingness to increase cooperation in the energy field with extra attention put on energy security. The EU 15 had not been concerned with external energy issues to a higher degree until this enlargement and two gas crises in 2006 and 2009 took place and focused mainly on internal energy market development. This has changed and nowadays external energy issue becomes one of the main EU topics. New member states‘ interest in energy security is based on infrastructural legacy from communist period that makes them extremely dependent on Russian supplies. Taking into account this vulnerability they are trying to “upload” energy security issue on the EU level. The paper is dealing with preferences of three new member states of the EU (Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland) in the energy field. It draws on 39 semi-structured interviews conducted with decision-makers and experts on national (ministries, think-tanks) as well as European (permanent representations, Commission) level together with analysis of official documents and speeches. The paper uses ideational approaches to European integration for explaining preferences of these countries. It argues that taking into account perceived size of the member country can help us to shed light on sources of these preferences.