The European Union (EU) is an impressive association, which is constantly changing its borders and making innovations in principles of governance in accordance with political conjuncture. External challenges have produced a corresponding reaction to a possible threats, which was expressed in giving a certain direction to the trajectory of foreign policy formation. The result of this processes was a creation of an external governance policy of the EU. Thereby this essay will reveal the purposes of use external governance policy in context of initiative of the ‘wider Europe’, and it also touches upon the problem of energy dependence of the EU from the other non-EU exporting countries.
The essay consists of four parts: 1) introduction, which introduce the main problem (what is a policy of external governance and how it works in attitude to ‘wider Europe’ conception) and describes the structure of an essay; 2) main body, which gives an expanded explanation of a problem, declared at the introduction. This part explains the purposes and features of use external governance with a ‘wider Europe’ conception; 3) conclusion, which short summarizes the main arguments of the main body; 4) list of references.
The EU’s foreign policy is an ever-changing strategy of behavior, conditioned by external and internal factors. Practicing for a long time ”politics of exclusion”, since 1990th the EU have been coming to a ”politics of inclusion”, which means not only including of new participants, but also expansion of the boundaries of EU’s influence without the inclusion of new members (Smith 1996, 5). In this context development of the ‘wider Europe’ strategy has acquired considerable relevance.
As a definition of the concept of ‘wider Europe’ it is possible to quote Sandra’s Lavenex paper, which is applied by most authors who study these problematics. Hereby, the concept ‘wider Europe’ is determined as:
“Possibility for a far-reaching association of the EU’s eastern and southern European neighbors which, by offering everything but institutions proposes an alternative to membership”.
(Lavenex 2004, 687).
Thereby, today in the modern globalized world, where different political actors are tightly connected or interdependent, the initiative of ‘wider Europe’ is an essential part of an EU external governance agenda. This concept consists of the EU’s ambitions to distribute ideas and values that are correct according to its own point of view, in order to support a constant world system where the EU participants can provide a stable development.
During the process of the EU enlargement it had created an ‘external aspect of governance’. It is called “an inside-out approach”. That means that the EU try to use an internal solutions to solve some external problems. In this way external governance means ‘a selective extension’ of EU values – norms, rules and policies to the neighborhood’, but without a membership (Kohler-Koch 2006, 29). In a case of adoption this values the EU get additional guaranties of its own safety and consolidate their positions in the region.
According to the problem of interdependence, building a beneficial relations with near abroad plays an important role for the EU, because negative phenomenon in neighboring countries can spreads within the EU. Focusing on the conception of interdependence of EU with its neighbors, S. Lavenex defines three prominent ‘soft security’ issues of external governance: justice and home affairs, environmental and energy policy (Lavenex 2004, 690).
Further in the text, attention will be paid to one of these issues – energy policy as one of the most important factor, which influences on relationship with powerful players in the world arena. They have a big potential in the field of export of petroleum, gas and nuclear products and situated in a close proximity with the EU, but do not have a chance to join the EU.
The EU’s energy dependence on the external supply of energy resources from the Middle East and Russia has long been recognized as a problem within the association. Such a situation not only makes the EU vulnerable in the economic sense, but also carries a great deal of damage to the environment, which is also a separate big problem for the debate.
In this case, it seems reasonable to seek a way out in several directions: firstly, to concentrate on the relationship with oil-exporting countries that fit the concept of a ‘wider Europe’; secondly, to search for an alternative energy sources, since oil and gas are exhaustible sources of energy. Consequently, even a very successful establishment of relations with oil-exporting countries will not solve the problem of disappearance of oil and gas. But it is another problem, so it seems reasonable to return to closer prospects and pay attention to external relations.
According to the ‘wider Europe’ conception, it is preferable to the EU to expansion of the Union’s energy market, where all the participants will stick to its principles. For instance, to transform ‘oligopolistic or quasi-statist energy sectors’ in Russia or the southern Mediterranean in order to ‘liberate energy supply’ from the monopolial control. In the same time the EU interests is in getting access ‘in the transit for energy supply’ in order to make it more attractive for foreign private investors and reduce dependence from the strongest producers of energy (Lavenex 2004, 693).
This ideas provokes a resistance from the relevant countries. For example, in 2003 an attempt to ratify the European Energy Charter in Russia was failed, because it leaded to the opposition of big business in the country (Bordachev 2003, 88).
Nevertheless, the EU scholars affirms, that Russia was tent to conform to European standards (Bordachev 2003, 97). But the Ukrainian crisis changed the situation on the international energy market. Many Russian oil companies were sanctioned and reduced their supplies, the policy of moderate cooperation with the EU was frozen (Dimitrova, Dragneva, 2009, 860).
Attempts by the EU to extend its values (free market ideas, broad democratization) without a membership perspective meet resistance from Russian energy companies.
This case also demonstrates that internal problems prevent the EU from solving external problems. Considering the fact that the EU energy policy began its formation in the 1950s, the EU members have just recently begun to come to a common standard of behavior. The concept of introducing European Union energy policy was approved only at the meeting of the informal European Council on 27 October 2005 at Hampton Court. It was developed in the EU Treaty of Lisbon of 2007 includes solidarity in matters of energy supply within the EU. But in reality EU participants still can’t come to equal internal strategy and regulate this problem at national member state level (Braun 2012, 5).
Today the EU have problems in making general agreed decisions. The EU energy markets are nationally separated. Therefore, a significant part of the EU’s policy efforts are aimed at overcoming the fragmentation of markets, removing barriers to free competition in the energy sector. However, the growing interdependence at the micro and macro levels in the energy market creates the prerequisites and pushes the Union countries towards the movement precisely in the direction of strengthening supranational elements in this field.
The external governance of the EU is based on a ‘wider Europe’ strategy. This strategy is the main one in constructing international relations with third countries. The concept of a “wider Europe” is an important component of the external governance of the EU, as demonstrated by the example of the EU’s external energy policy. It is also important to distinguish the purpose of the external management concept: 1) security – maintaining a stable level of relations with third countries, ensuring the security of external and internal governance. Understand security is applicable not only to the military sphere, which was more relevant during the Cold War, but also in the “peaceful sectors” – economy, ecology, etc. 2) influence – expanding the neofunctionalist model of peaceful cooperation, which is based on regional integration and acceptance of a common set of values of the EU – democracy, human rights, the rule of law.
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