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European energy security in the age of Brexit

Hadfield, A. (2016) European energy security in the age of Brexit In: EU à la carte? EU Publications Office, Brussels, pp. 111-115. ISBN 978-92-79-62015-7

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The concept of EU à la carte is an interesting one. For some, it invokes images of scattered states,unreconciled policies and unworkable objectives. For others, it suggests areas of complementarity that ultimately makes collaboration possible. EU à la carte options wax and wane according to the health of the overall EU enterprise, and the suitability of key mechanisms like integration and governance. When the latter encounter problems in providing collective solutions, then the benefits of flexible à la carte options are routinely suggested. But à la carte operations are risky and complex. As a non-uniform method of European integration, they operate via centrifugal philosophies which generally make a virtue of the peripheral, rather than a necessity of the centre. Can one strike a balance between the deep demands of integration, and a pragmatic use of looser approaches? The EU may need to. Collective approaches typify the EU’s pioneering approaches to climate change, but energy security remains defiantly geopolitical in nature. Whilst energy security continues to be determined by national foreign policy dynamics, à la carte mechanisms may be a helpful way of bypassing the current stasis in Europe’s energy mainframe. Could à la carte go even further? Some of the software and hardware, and even decarbonisation goals of the European Energy Union (EEU) could be accomplished in the short term by allowing Member States to achieve initial goals at different speeds and varying methods. This has the advantage of getting the general structure of the EEU completed, as well as retaining the inputs of non-EU Member States (and those swiftly heading for the exit). But achieving the security of the EEU is a tougher battle, requiring solidarity rather than symmetry. Energy security is the minimum objective, but it requires a maximum of input. À la carte mechanisms may work, but it would have to do so in a way that achieves genuine regional balance and between vulnerable states and the strategic imperatives of the EEU as a whole.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Politics
Authors :
Date : 12 October 2016
DOI : 10.2766/514311
Uncontrolled Keywords : European energy union; Brexit; Energy security; Solidarity and trust; Fully integrated energy market; Decarbonisation; Research; Innovation and competitiveness
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 19 Feb 2019 17:49
Last Modified : 19 Feb 2019 17:49

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