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Szabó, J.: European Union energy policy at a time of crisis

European Union energy policy at a time of crisis

 

Author: John Szabó

In: European Union Encyclopedia and Directory 2024, Edited By Europa Publications, Routledge, pp. 213-217.

 

Introduction

This essay surveys the EU’s energy policy responses to the war in Ukraine during the roughly 18-month period from the outbreak of the conflict until August 2023. The horror of the war provided the EU with an urgent stimulus to accelerate the shift from its deep dependence on imported fossil fuels to greener forms of energy. The response to the crisis has not been uniform, with member state actions and positions shaped by energy politics, pre-existing policy preferences, strategies and available resources. This essay assesses two intertwined forms of EU action: sanctions and interventions aimed at altering its energy system. In the case of the latter, the EU has pursued a three-pronged approach: pursue alternative supplies; support renewables; and reduce demand. However, discourse and action tend to overwhelmingly emphasize the first point, while other key measures, such as investment into energy efficiency, are still lagging. Understanding the drivers and context of the EU’s actions not only provides a solid foundation for further action, but also offers an opportunity to theorize the dynamics shaping the energy transition.

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