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Political Research Exchange - PRX

From Crisis to Crisis: Divergent Meanings of Energy Security in Europe

Andrew Judge
University of Glasgow

The question of how to ensure adequate levels of energy security has been at the heart of debates about a common EU energy policy over the past decade. The re-emergence of energy security would appear to be ripe for analysis as a process of securitisation. However energy security is used in multiple and sometimes conflicting ways by practitioners and analysts alike due to the highly contextual nature of energy security. The Copenhagen School framework, which is based on an abstracted conception of security is unable to account for and understand such differences. This article instead focuses on the ‘meaning of security’ in three Member States – Germany, Poland and the UK – in order to assess the extent to which they have converged or diverged since 2006. We argue that although energy security has risen up the agenda in each of these Member States and that there are certain points of convergence, there are nonetheless major differences between them, grounded in different institutionalised views of governance and political economy. In the absence of a shared conception of energy security, even in light of the Crimea crisis, there appears to be little prospect of a common energy policy emerging in the near future.

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