A Framework for Analyzing European Energy and Climate Change Policies in the Enlarged EU

Tomas Maltby, Pierre Bocquillon

This paper examines the impact of the EU's enlargement to ten Central European Countries (CEC), through the case of energy and climate change policy-making. In the past decade, the EU has adopted ambitious legislation as part of its newly rebranded energy policy. This renewed activism has taken place in the context of an enlarged EU28, in which the diversity of situations, interests and approaches has increased. This raises questions regarding effects of enlargement on EU energy and climate change policies. Have priorities changed after accession? How have interstate conflicts arising been mitigated? Have CEC been instrumental in fostering policy-change? Responses to these questions have been at best elusive, as it difficult to distinguish the influence of enlargement from other factors. In addition, the existing literature has tended to reduce CECs to mere 'brakers' or 'lightweights' in EU politics. The paper puts forward an analytical framework that focuses on agenda change, institutional evolutions and negotiations dynamics, and distinguishes between the structural effects of enlargement and CEC's agency. This framework is then applied to energy and climate policies, through a comparative case study analysis of its three dimensions: competition, sustainability and security of supply. The paper shows that recent enlargements have contributed to bringing some issues back to the top of the European agenda; security of supply and 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. 'Newer 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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