Conflicting Energy Policy Priorities in EU Energy Governance

Rosa Fernández Martín

Last decade has seen how energy policies across EU member States have shifted, sometimes enormously, withfears emerging over the feasibility of the decarbonisation targets set up at European level. In many cases thechanges have been triggered by weakened economic conditions linked to the last international economic crisis,but in some others they respond to national political preferences that have been given priority over long termgoals related to sustainability. The second half of 2016 has been particularly full of events that on one hand haveintroduced uncertainty over markets and on the other hand may condition the progress towards the EnergyUnion. This paper will focus on three of those events in trying to analyse their influence over EU future energygovernance patterns: The first one is the Brexit vote and the implications over budget availability for emissionsreduction projects, once seen that at national level UK has been already shifting political preferences with theapproval of fracking projects by the national government undermining decisions taken by local councils. Thesecond is the election of Donald Trump as president of the US, with an already declared disbelief on climatechange and the intention to increase coal mining. Last but not least, the latest decision by OPEC to cutproduction in order to increase oil prices. With the exception of Brexit, these events are external to the EU but allof them will have an impact over EU energy policy decisions. But bearing in mind that goals set up for 2030 arealready 'softer' than expected compared to the 2020 ones, the question is if those events could push even moretowards European targets more concerned by security of supply conflicting with emissions reduction goals.

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