Selected Legal Issues
The principal aim of this chapter is to provide the reader with an overview of the key legal considerations at play in relation to European Union (EU) energy security. As part of that process, we explore the complexities that contribute to the contentiousness of EU action in relation to certain aspects of energy. We also provide some background information on key facts and figures regarding energy in the EU. While extensive literature exists on discrete aspects of the EU–energy nexus, there is a lack of research contextualizing EU energy security through a constitutional/public law prism. We therefore intentionally take a broad view of the subject. Such an approach is relevant because of the very nature, on the one hand, of the EU, and on the other, of energy, both of which are highly complex. For instance, the EU is a complex sui generis example of interstate cooperation. For its part, energy – due to inherent and contingent reasons explored below – is highly politicized. Combining these two fields makes for potentially very contentious politics. It follows, therefore, that a public law approach in relation to the competences of the supranational aspects of the EU – in other words, a clear delineation of the competences of the EU and of its member states – would be highly pertinent towards understanding energy within the EU context. We also aim to highlight in our present work the inescapable diplomatic overtones of energy in international relations.
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