Thinking the Unthinkable: Promoting Regional Approaches to EU Energy Policies for a More United and Effective Europe

Regional approaches to EU energy policies have been termed the "Schengenisation" of energy, making reference to the Schengen Convention eliminating intra-European border controls. They aim to hone the effectiveness of EU energy policy objectives through enhanced policy coordination at the regional scale. Typically, this includes energy market integration while accounting for member states' continued deployment of national-level policy instruments regarding the appropriate energy mix and the security of energy supply, which is foreseen in the EU Treaty. This report explores the potential for such regional approaches. It assesses lessons from existing initiatives to determine whether regional energy initiatives are an efficient, effective and politically acceptable approach toward reaching three EU energy policy objectives: competitiveness, supply security and sustainability. Regional approaches could possibly play an important role for governing EU renewables policy, which the European Commission has identified in the 2030 climate and energy framework as an important element for governance.

Paper prepared within the framework of the project "Towards a More United and Effective Europe". Revised version of a paper presented at the IAI-ELIAMEP conference on "Energy and Environmental Policies in Post-Crisis Europe", Athens, 9 April 2014.

Roma, Istituto affari internazionali, May 2014, 21 p.
Publication date: 

1. Introduction
2. Regional Approaches
3. Regional Initiatives: Examples and Concepts
4. A Conceptual Framework for Northwestern Europe
5. Opportunities and Risks
6. Testing Regional Approaches: The Next Steps Forward
    6.1. Terminology
    6.2. Bottom-up Processes
    6.3. Top-down Approaches
    6.4. Institutional Issues and Governance
    6.5. Subsidiarity
7. A Way Forward
8. Recommendations

Research area