magtpotentialet i EU's energipolitik: Hvad er Storbritanniens interesser i EU’s energipolitiske magt?

Nicoline Stenkjær Laursen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The Power Potential within EU’s Energy Policy – What are the UK’s interests in EU’s Energy Political Power? In June 2016, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will present EU’s new Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy. The strategy is expected to focus less on the use of ‘soft power’ and more on specific policy areas. One of these areas might be EU’s energy policy as this is one of the key priorities of the Juncker Commission. The increased focus on energy policy serves as a point of departure for this master thesis.The thesis investigates what power potential the EU’s energy policy holds, and how the interests of the member states determine the potential and the use of this power. In light of the current BREXIT debate and due to the fact that Britain historically has shaped the European internal energy market, the thesis focuses on the interests of Britain in EU’s energy policy. The methodological and theoretical framework of this thesis draws on two different paradigms. More specifically, Joseph Nye’s concepts of ‘soft-’ and ‘hard power’, and the underlining dimensions of Stanley Hoffmann’s theory of intergovernmentalism. Both theories share the idea that EU’s power consists of the interests of the member states in a given or specific policy area. Therefore, the theories provide useful concepts and ideas to analyse the actual power of EU’s energy policy. The concepts and ideas of the theories are used on empirical material consisting of legal texts, speeches, reports, political proposals, and academic and newspaper articles.The analysis is structured in two sections. The first section examines which parts of the EU energy policy that have potential of ‘hard-’ and/or ‘soft power’. In this section, we found that the following elements have power potential: • European internal energy sources in terms of alternative and renewable energy sources • The internal energy market • Diversity in suppliers and transport routes • More transparency on the intergovernmental energy agreements between EU member states and non-EU countries Before the power potential in these elements can be utilized, it requires that the member states agree. Today, there is a conflict of interest in several of the above-mentioned areas. The initiative to implement consultation on the review of intergovernmental energy agreements is for instance an area where member states strongly disagree. Some states e.g. the UK consider the initiative to be an indirect way in which the EU gets more power, where others do not, e.g. Poland. Therefore, there are limited prospects for the power potential in EU’s energy policy in the near future. The second section examines the UK’s interest in EU’s energy policy. The purpose of analysing the British interests is to estimate whether or not the UK could promote the development and thereby the power potential in EU’s energy policy. In this section, we found that the UK has economical, geopolitical and security interests in EU’s energy policy in terms of: • The internal market for energy • Securing EU’s energy supply • Pursuing national interests by power potential in EU’s energy policy Therefore, the UK could be a driving force behind promoting the power potential mentioned above. However, the UK’s interests should not be misinterpreted such as the UK being enthusiastic about more EU integration. Despite British interests, the UK does not support proposals, which indirectly give EU more power over member states’ energy mixes and intergovernmental energy agreements with non-EU countries. The thesis concludes that even though there is power potential in EU’s energy policy, it can only generate actual power if the member states agree. Moreover, the thesis concludes that the UK is one of the member states that have the potential to push the energy agenda forward and thereby secure the use of the power potential in EU’s energy policy.The thesis only provides a picture of British interests and the UK’s role in EU’s energy policy. However, it could be interesting to examine the interests of other member states e.g. Germany, Poland and France. Especially these countries could be interesting as they along with the UK are some of the most influential member states but also because they are different both culturally and historically.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages118