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Research Report

Securing the Energy Union:: five pillars and five regions

Gerald Stang
Dimitar Bechev
Eamonn Butler
Zuzanna Nowak
Simone Tagliapietra
Kirsten Westphal
Copyright Date: Feb. 1, 2017
Pages: 67
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-4)
    Antonio Missiroli

    Only a few years ago, nobody would have predicted that the then highly controversial Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea would have ended up actually reducing Russia’s ability to use gas supply as a tool to exercise pressure on European governments. Yet a combination of EU rules, technical know-how and political developments have now made it possible – through the so-called reverse flows from Germany eastwards – to provide ailing Ukraine with precious energy at a difficult juncture. While this was probably an unintended consequence of the 2005 deal sponsored by then German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, such a bizarre...

  2. (pp. 5-10)
    Gerald Stang

    The European Union’s motto, ‘United in diversity’, can be used to describe the goals of the Energy Union, the EU’s framework strategy for providing all Europeans with secure, sustainable and competitive energy. But while the countries of the EU all share these same goals, both in their national energy policies and in their support for the Energy Union, there remain significant differences in the energy priorities of individual member states and of the different regions of the EU. While they all share a reliance on imported energy, for example, the countries of eastern Europe are generally more concerned about their...

  3. (pp. 11-16)
    Dimitar Bechev

    Over the past two decades, southeast Europe has become increasingly important in the context of the EU’s rising energy security concerns. Encompassing the Balkans and Turkey, the area lies in between hydrocarbon producers in the Caspian Basin and the Middle East and consumers in western and central Europe. It therefore plays a central role in efforts to reduce dependence on Russian gas imports, as part of the so-called ‘Southern Corridor’ which bypasses Russia. At the same time, the region is key to Russia’s strategy of diverting gas flows away from Ukraine, as evidenced by the cancelled South Stream pipeline and...

  4. (pp. 17-24)
    Eamonn Butler

    Energy is considered by the countries of Central Europe to be one of the region’s most pressing security concerns. The countries of the region – Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia – all recognise that they share common energy challenges. These include safeguarding supply security and lower consumer prices, the need to support continued integration of the market, and ensuring compliance with climate change commitments. However, they also recognise that despite developing extensive policy responses over the past 10-15 years, they still have much more to do. Furthermore, although collaboration is actively encouraged as a way to...

  5. (pp. 25-32)
    Simone Tagliapietra

    The energy landscape of southern Europe is profoundly varied.¹ Given different economic structures, energy resource endowments and energy policy evolutions, the energy mixes are widely dissimilar (see Figure 1), and interconnections between them (whether gas or electricity) are limited.

    Coal plays an important role in Greece, for example, but only a marginal role in the other southern countries. Oil represents an important share for all of them, although in very different proportions. Gas is a cornerstone of Italy’s energy system, and is an important energy source for the other countries in the region except for Cyprus. Nuclear power remains a...

  6. (pp. 33-38)
    Zuzanna Nowak

    Dividing Europe into regions is a tricky exercise, as shared borders do not necessarily translate into shared political interests, economic preferences, or social choices. In the energy field, the EU countries around the Baltic Sea display a variety of options, behaviours, rationales and perceptions. Until recently, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden had been developing their energy policies independently and without taking sufficient account of each other. Nevertheless, the European Energy Union has the potential not only to align more closely the energy systems of the countries around the Baltic Sea but also, through enhanced energy cooperation, to strengthen...

  7. (pp. 39-48)
    Gerald Stang and Kirsten Westphal

    This chapter focuses on the energy situation in the EU member states of northwest Europe: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK. This region includes many of the most advanced economies and interconnected energy markets in Europe. It also encompasses the EU’s three largest national markets: France, Germany and the UK. In particular, Germany and the UK are the EU’s biggest natural gas markets and most important gas ‘roundabouts’ and trading places. However, the national energy systems in the region, in terms of energy mix, market structures, and level of interconnectivity, reflect the very different energy...

  8. (pp. 49-56)
    Gerald Stang

    No two EU member states have the same energy profile. Even close neighbours that might have similar political and economic histories rarely have similar energy mixes or energy security priorities. But these differences need not be impediments to successful energy cooperation, particularly as the main priorities for EU energy policies (competitiveness, sustainability, security) are also the priorities in the energy policies of all member states. This commonality of goals means that all EU countries are planning to improve their energy security, develop deeper energy markets, and cut their carbon emissions. The methods for making progress in these areas are increasingly...