Handbook of European Policies
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Handbook of European Policies

Interpretive Approaches to the EU

Edited by Hubert Heinelt and Sybille Münch

This definitive Handbook addresses the current lack of research into European policymaking and development using an interpretive perspective. Questioning areas that mainstream approaches tend to neglect, contributors target the ways in which ideas, arguments and discourses shape policies in the institutional context of the EU.
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Chapter 12: EU energy policy

Michèle Knodt


Looking at integrational history, common energy policy seems to be, besides trade policy, one of the earliest ‘European’ issues. Nevertheless, on paper, it became a policy area with its own title, but only since the 2009 Lisbon Treaty. In this development the discourse on energy policy was shaped by three frames – security (of supply), sustainability and competitiveness, which received different amounts of attention and were used by different actors in different time periods, and they guided European action in different ways. This contribution will analyse the development of the energy frames within the integration process. Thus, the following questions will be addressed: Which composition of frames shapes EU energy policy in different integration periods? Which actors and actor coalitions support which frames in the European energy discourse? What are the consequences for the integration process?

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