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The More the Merrier? Assessing the Impact of Enlargement on European Energy and Climate Change Policies

Tomas Maltby, Pierre Bocquillon

This article examines the impact of Central European Countries (CEC) on European Union (EU) policies, through the case of energy and climate change policy-making. In the past decade, the EU has adopted ambitious legislation in all three dimensions of its newly rebranded energy policy-competition, sustainability and security of supply. This renewed activism has taken place in the context of an enlarged EU28, in which the diversity of situations, interests and approaches has increased, which raises questions regarding the impact of enlargement on EU policy performance in the field of energy and climate change. How have interstate conflicts arising been mitigated? Through a comparative case study analysis of the EU's energy and climate change policy, this article explores the impact of the Eastern enlargement and discusses the emergence of a new East/West cleavage-or lack of-in energy and climate policy-making. Recent enlargements have contributed to bringing some issues back to the top of the European agenda (security of supply) as well as old debates, especially the issue of burden sharing in climate change negotiations. Yet it has not led to the emergence of a clear-cut East/West divide or stable Eastern coalition. 'New member states', although sharing common features, both material and ideational, constitute a diverse group. CEC tend to fit into existing cleavages while their positions have, in turn, been shaped by the European institutional and discursive environment. However, climate negotiations post Copenhagen and the unfolding political crisis in Ukraine point to their renewed assertiveness at the EU level.

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