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External European Union Governance in Energy and the Environment

Padgett, S.A. and Lahn, G. and Lavenex, S. (2009) External European Union Governance in Energy and the Environment. [Report]

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This paper summarizes the discussions at a seminar on the EU's efforts to institutionalize energy and environmental governance beyond its borders. The seminar, which took place at Chatham House on 16 September 2009, drew on the results of a major ESRC-funded research project by the University of Strathclyde and ongoing research by Chatham House's Energy, Environment & Resource Governance team. Energy and the environment both involve the European Union in relations of interdependence with non-member states. Enlargement has increased the EU's circle of neighbours and to some extent, its sphere of influence. Increasing reliance on energy imports means that the EU must find ways of increasing coherence in its relations with a diverse set of producer and transit countries such as Russia, Algeria, Egypt, Ukraine and Turkey. The trans-boundary nature of many environmental problems such as water pollution and Co2 emissions is something EU policy makers also need to address. In response to these concerns, the EU's strategy is to use external governance to encourage a common regulatory area of shared trade, transit and environmental rules. In both sectors, external governance initiatives are designed to transfer the principles of EU acquis communautaire1 to non-member states. But is the EU coherent enough internally to act effectively externally? What can it offer to neighbouring countries in return for their reforms? Will the initiative present problems in third countries where interests and politico-economic contexts differ radically from the EU's? And how are the EU's neighbours responding to these initiatives? To explore these questions, the seminar began by outlining the institutional and conceptual problems that the EU faces addressing energy and environmental security. It identified the challenges that interdependence with third countries presents to the EU and its institutional capacity for meeting the challenges. The second session took a practical look at the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP); its objectives, limitations and how operates in different regional contexts. This was followed by an analysis of the different institutional designs and governance structures available to the EU as it seeks to export its norms to neighbouring countries. The third and fourth sessions took the form of two separate workshops, one on energy and one on environment. The energy session focused on the EU's evolving energy security objectives, the challenges in trying to meet these through external governance, and the perspectives of the EU's energy partners. The environment session focused on the legal and security applications of EU's water framework directive and the impacts of the German EU and G8 presidencies on the EU's effectiveness in environmental governance beyond its borders.