Institutional Aspects of EU-Russian Energy Relations: From Diversification to Primitivisation?
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.
The chapter constructs a new approach to legal approximation in EU-Russian energy relations
The paper argues that a new comprehensive theory of legal harmonization between the EU and a third partner (Russia) is needed and sketches a three-level concept. The progress and prospects of legal approximation in EU-Russian energy relations are then explored through this theoretical prism. Two issue arenas of the energy dialogue are compared and contrasted (market-making and clean energy) to identify the reasons for the success of the clean energy agenda and the causes of failure of the market-making initiatives. Ways to improve the market-making part of the EU-Russian energy dialogue are also suggested on the basis of the three-level theory of legal approximation.
The article examines partnerships for modernisation between Russia, on the one hand, and the EU as well as 23 out of its 28 member states, on the other hand. In doing that it first identifies the difference between the Russian economic interpretation of modernisation and the EU's one based on political values. The article then demonstrates the ambiguity rather than singularity of the position that EU member states promote in their modernisation partnerships with Russia. To illustrate the difference among EU member states’ the article designs a scale of Russia’s sensitivity to various political aspects of modernization and then posits member states on this scale on the basis of their national partnerships for modernisation with Russia. As a result, a new classification of EU member states emerges; it is based on the extent, to which they are ready to defend the political definition of modernisation (and ultimately the EU's normative power) in their relations with Russia.