Blue versus red and black versus green; The European Union on the crossroads: the dilemma between national policy goals and the greater communal good in the struggle for energy security in the context of perceptions towards fossil fuel dependence on Russia

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This thesis seeks to uncover why the continuous EU efforts over the years to create a common energy policy have not yielded strong results: despite successful integration in other policy areas, the so-called EU Energy Union remains a rather de jure reality. The rationale for a common energy policy is partially found in the EU’s dependency upon Russian fossil fuels, especially on oil and natural gas. The EU is indeed dependent on foreign powers for its energy supply to a large extent, yet it is not nearly at odds with its other main supplier (Norway) to the extent it is with Russia. The EU as an international organisation views the state of energy dependence on Russia rather negatively, bringing mainly geopolitical, but also environmental reasons for concern into the debate, and attempts to curtail the dependency via diversification and integration efforts. Meanwhile, the level of energy dependence varies per EU Member State (mainly due to geographic and historical factors), and is seen as desirable by some states, while worrisome by others. The observable differences between the national debates regarding energy security are therefore striking, rendering perception crucial to this research – more so than hard facts. These national debates namely frame the narrative in a country, and the differences therein make it extremely complicated for the EU to form a de facto common energy policy, that are to protect against Russian undermining of EU energy security. I thus ask: to what extent does perception influence the debates on EU energy security in the context of the fossil fuel dependency on the Russian Federation in the endeavour to strengthen the EU’s position of leverage vis-à-vis its own energy security?
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen