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Regular version of the site

Article

Russian energy in the EU market: Bolstered institutions and their effects

Energy Policy. 2014. Vol. 74. No. November. P. 44-53.

The article examines institutional changes in EU-Russian energy relations since 2000. The article explores the ability of transformed institutions to limit the politicisation of energy and to reconcile the EU competitive-market approach with Russian state capitalism. More specifically, the article focuses on changes in intergovernmental, transgovernmental and transnational interactions. The article demonstrates that the gradual strengthening of transgovernmental and transnational institutions has inhibited the politicisation of energy relations and facilitated regulative cooperation between the EU and Russia. However, the potential of shared institutions is constrained by internal institutions on both sides. In Russia, these obstacles are insufficient top-down delegation of responsibilities in the government and its great power aspirations. In the EU, key barriers include inter-institutional rivalries, the EU’s propensity to impose its legislation on external partners and the integration of energy policy with foreign policy. The article presents several policy implications. First, it is futile to institutionally impose the regulative paradigm of one partner on the other; rather, mutual dialogue is needed. Thus, institutions should be structured appropriately.  Second, current depoliticisation will require the involvement of not only the EU and Russia but also transit countries, such as Ukraine. Third, transgovernmental and transnational cooperation should be nurtured because this is a useful channel for both information exchange and a regulative convergence of policy implementing mechanisms. Finally, this incremental regulative convergence is the only option available today for the EU and Russia; this is also a way to further depoliticise energy relations.