Energy Security, Trade and the EU

Energy Security, Trade and the EU

Regional and International Perspectives

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Costantino Grasso and Juan Alemany Ríos

Energy security is a burning issue in a world where 1.4 billion people still have no access to electricity. This book is about finding solutions for energy security through the international trading system. Focusing mainly on the European Union as a case study, this holistic and comprehensive analysis of the existing legal and geopolitical instruments strives to identify the shortcomings of the international and EU energy trade governance systems, concluding with the notion of a European Energy Union and what the EU is politically prepared to accept as part of its unified energy security.

Chapter 7: The creation of the European Energy Union

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Costantino Grasso and Juan Alemany Ríos

Subjects: law - academic, energy law, environmental law, international economic law, trade law


Energy security is one of the main problems that humanity faces today and the European Union (EU) has to rely on energy-rich countries for its energy needs. The European Innovation Union, the Energy Community, and the Europe 2020 initiative address energy security as a priority, but policies seem to be reactive instead of addressing energy security in its complexity. This problem can be solved with appropriate legal tools. Energy governance has links with several policies: trade, investment, environmental protection, energy transit, energy security, finance, et cetera. Of these policies, energy trade has a high impact for European energy security policy. Currently, the international community does not address trade in energy as a cohesive entity and its governance is fragmented. The chapter explores the institutional legal framework for the creation of a European Energy Union, whose aim is to achieve affordable, secure and sustainable energy. This Energy Union is based on five pillars, which are analysed: security, solidarity and trust; the completion of a competitive internal market; moderation of demand; the decarbonization of the EU energy mix (i.e., greater use of renewable energy); and technologies. The EU is the first region in the world to set up the ambitious target of decarbonizing its economy by 2050. The chapter then looks at the energy union in the context of the rule of law. All of this could be reproduced in other regions of the world and eventually create a new international energy order. This requires a fresh and comprehensive approach to legal instruments.

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