15 Apr 2014

Exploring a Regional Approach to EU Energy Policies

Jacques de Jong / Christian Egenhofer

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Regional approaches to EU energy policies have been termed the ‘Schengenisation’ of energy, making reference to the Schengen Convention eliminating intra-European border controls. They aim to hone the effectiveness of EU energy policy objectives through enhanced policy coordination at the regional scale. Typically, this includes energy market integration while accounting for member states’ continued deployment of national-level policy instruments regarding the appropriate energy mix and the security of energy supply, which is foreseen in the EU Treaty.

This report explores the potential for such regional approaches. It assesses lessons from existing initiatives, regional energy arrangements such as the Danube Energy Forum, the Mediterranean Energy Forum, the Pentalateral Energy Forum, the North Seas Countries’ Offshore Grid Initiative and the Nordic Co-operation partnership, to determine whether regional energy initiatives are an efficient, effective and politically acceptable approach toward reaching three EU energy policy objectives: competitiveness, supply security and sustainability. Regional approaches could possibly play an important role for governing EU renewables policy, which the European Commission has identified in the 2030 climate and energy framework as an important element for governance.

Jacques de Jong is Senior Fellow in the Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP), The Hague. Christian Egenhofer is Associate Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Energy and Climate Change Research Programme at CEPS. The report is based on a joint project by the following four institutes: Florence School of Regulation, University Institute Florence, Clingendael Institute, Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research (REKK), Budapest and CEPS.