This Policy Brief urges the European Union to consider reinforcing the Energy Community by further Europeanising the Energy Community Treaty. It argues that the level of dysfunctionality with respect to the rule of law and corruption will make it very hard to establish a pathway for accession for most Balkan states. However, the demand across the region for a sustainable, competitive and stable energy sector creates an ‘energy incentive’ that the Union can leverage to improve the rule of law and adherence to European rules. Furthermore, a juridical strengthening of the Energy Community Treaty will also strengthen the hand of those parties supporting energy liberalisation rules across the region, such as independent businesses, consumers and NGOs. In addition, there is likely to be significant spill-over effects from decisions of a European Energy Community Court operating in the region on the rule of law in general and the accession process in particular.
Alan Riley is Professor at City Law School, City University, Grays Inn, London, and CEPS Associate Research Fellow.