Common policies of the European Union aims to reduce issues that may arise from the different policies of member states. With a common policy, rules in regulated areas become harmonized in all member states. However, different countries have different needs, and regulating them with the same policy may cause problems. That is why creating an energy union has not easily done.
When the Russia annexed Crimean peninsula, a destabilization, and a chaotic environment was seen in Ukraine where the European Union’s energy canals lay. In that time, relations with Moscow lost its stability too. The Ukraine crisis and subsequent tensions in relations with Russia urged the European Union to diversify its energy suppliers and integrate the energy markets of member states (Siddi, 2016, p,131).
This crise led European countries to consider their energy security. When security is the issue, states do not persist to continue with their national policies, and creating an energy union became easier at that time. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, created the first proposal Energy Union in April 2015. In following months, European Commission developed this proposal and present a more comprehensive package named: European Energy Union Package.
European Energy Union Package published by European Commission in February 2015 together with a Communication on electricty network interconnections, and EU’s contribution to the international climate change negotiations shown in another document. The package is a strategic document that is meant to pave the way for the creation of an integrated European energy market, where member states cooperate to strengthen their energy security, decarbonise their economy and reduce waste in energy consumption (Siddi, 2016, p.131). Also we can say that four element that can move across member countries freely, become five. Free flow of energy across borders occured after free movement of goods, workers, service, and capital.
s said in the European Union’s official website, the Energy Union Strategy is made up of five closely interrelated and mutually reinforcing dimensions, designed to bring greater energy security, sustainability and competitiveness to Europe. First dimension is related with energy security, solidarity, and trust. Self-sufficiency brings security to all countries according to realist perspective, and likely that building a truly European energy system brings Europe security as well.
Electricity interconnection will help reduce Europe´s dependency, due to the optimisation of the system leading to a reduction of fuel imports, generating more opportunities for Europe in terms of investments, growth and jobs. In addition, interconnections facilitate instantaneous help between Transmission System Operators providing greater cooperation and solidarity between them (COM(2015) 82 final).
Second dimension is about fully-integrated internal energy market. Building the interconnection between states will require the common objective of a fully functioning and connected internal energy market. As mentioned above there is no technical or regulatory barriers on the flow of the energy, thus energy providers can freely compete and provide the best price.
Thirdly, we can mention energy effficiency and its contribution to the moderate demand. Efficiency here can be explained as not wasting the energy and the energy-intensive goods. As energy efficiency is an issue in virtually all sectors, there is a myriad of existing and proposed measures. So, energy efficiency policies can be welfare enhancing (Zachmann, 2014). Decarbonising the economy was also mentioned as the fourth dimension.
It is a step taken to halt global warming, and climate change which are also security issues for some scholars, like the ones support Green theory. And final point in here is about research, innovation, and competitiveness of the energy market. With that package, European Commission decided to support low-carbon technologies by coordinating researches, and financing the projects in partnership with the private sector.
When the subject is security of the energy in Europe, it would be inappropriate to not to mention European Energy Union. It is the most important step toward securitization of the energy. Although it is a big step, it is still in progress and in time it may become more comprehensive than the current form. In this part, the issue is limited with the security related side of the package. However, it can/should be handled in multi dimensional way too.
Siddi, M. (2016).The EU’s Energy Union: A Sustainable Path to Energy Security?, The International Spectator, 51:1, 131-144, Zachmann, G. (2014). Elements of Europe’ Energy Union, bruegelpolicybrief