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Challenges of External Energy Governance: EU-Emerging Powers Relations

Franziska Müller, Nadine Piefer & Michèle Knodt

External energy relations are driven by a mix of norms and interests, which resembles a conglomerate of liberal, geopolitical, and security-based orientations. The relations with emerging powers - i.e. Brazil, India, China, and South Africa (BICS) - serve as an example of a complex relationship as well as of the EU's diffuse role as a global energy power. The bilateral dialogues that have evolved out of the respective Strategic Partnerships with emerging powers have established loosely-coupled networks that have led to flexible governance arrangements. Here we can find both liberal orientations in favour of a market-oriented approach towards external energy governance and security-based approaches focusing on secure access to energy under the conditions of scarcity and concurrence. While these governance arrangements in principle allow for enhanced cooperation, we currently can also witness that the third possible orientation - a governance arrangement based on the sustainability norm -runs the risk of being underplayed.Our paper analyses international governance arrangements and the interests and normative orders that pervade them. We present a "mapping" of the four energy dialogues done via network analysis, followed by a comparison of the respective governance arrangements, normative interpretations (i.e. norms such as sustainability, competitiveness and energy security), and actors' mutual perceptions (i.e. self- and xeno images). Our research is based on a cross-country survey done between 2011 and 2013. We finally draw conclusions on the EU's role as a global actor and give recommendations for improved cooperation with emerging powers as well as for fostering an energy transition.

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