Political Economy of Energy in Europe
The political economy of energy in Europe is defined by a large majority of states being heavily dependent upon the import of energy from a limited number of energy-producing countries located mainly outside Europe or the EU, and the relative failure of the EU to develop strong common energy policies capable of effectively counteracting the sensitivities and vulnerabilities arising from oil and gas import dependence. Modern states rely on an abundant supply of energy to implement key policy goals related to the economy at large, industry and labour, the transportation of goods and people, consumption patterns, social cohesion and political stability, external security, and increasingly the environment. This makes energy a strategic resource, and provides energy policies with a security dimension. The predominant discourse on energy security is biased towards the concerns of import-dependent and energy-intensive economies, preoccupied with safeguarding of the abundant and uninterrupted supply of oil and gas from far away places at sustainable prices - while there is growing pressure from emerging economies to increase their share of world energy consumption. However, even in a European security-of-supply context, energy security is a matrix of only partly complementary concerns related to what goals are considered central for energypolicies to serve, whose energy security is addressed, what level of analysis is chosen, and how far into the future energy security is accounted for. The eleven contributions to the Political Economy of Energy in Europe investigate unique research questions, engage in different lines of reasoning, and apply diverse sets of data fitting their particular purposes. However, the chapters of the present anthology share several common denominators defining the volume as a coherent whole: First, energy is part of the fabric of modern society and thus qualifies as a political issue of the first order. Second, political and economical aspects of the European energy condition need to be analysed in conjunction. Finally, issues of energy security need to be addressed at different levels and from several angles in order to better understand the interaction between the contradictory dynamics of integration and fragmentation pervading the political economy of energy in Europe. This volume elaborates on several lectures given at the conference 'Political Economy of Energy in Europe', October 12-13, 2007, arranged by E.ON Ruhrgas scholarship program for Political Science at Oslo Militære Samfund, Norway.
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- Gunnar Fermann
- BWV Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag