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The European Union's Discourse on Energy Relations with Russia

Lukáš Tichý, Petr Kratochvíl

The article explores the energy relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation. The focus is, however, not on the technical and institutional aspects of the relationship, but rather on the discursive formations that determine the prevailing interpretation of the relationship by both parties. Building on a discourse analysis of 101 textual units produced by EU leaders and institutions, the article discovers the three most salient discursive formations, which respectively centre around three concepts: a) integration, b) liberalization, and c) diversification. The text goes on to assess the main features of these formations, their possible overlaps and their influence upon EU-Russian energy ties. At the theoretical level, the article builds upon social constructivism, which in relation to discourse analysis, as the basic methodology used in the text, reflects a number of theoretical assumptions. Methodologically, the article is based on discourse analysis. The corpus of documents in the text covers the period of the so-called first Barroso Commission from 2004 to 2009, during which time a number of crucial events occurred that significantly affected energy relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation.

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