EU energy policy integration as embedded intergovernmentalism: The case of Energy Union governance

Pierre Bocquillon, Tomas Maltby

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The launch of the ‘Energy Union’ in 2014, represented a major step to deepen EU cooperation in energy and climate policies. Yet, in energy, member states have remained particularly jealous of their sovereignty, limiting the pace and scope of integration. EU energy policy appears to fit the specifications of ‘new intergovernmentalism’ (NI). Member states have been keen on reinforcing cooperation but have refrained from delegating further authority to supranational institutions, preferring to maintain a high level of control within the Council and European Council. However, focusing on the Energy Union Governance Regulation adopted in 2018, we argue that the sector does not fit neatly within this NI account. Although governments remain central to the process, they operate within a hybrid institutional framework combining supranational and intergovernmental elements, in which formal and informal authority distribution is unstable and contested. We suggest this form of governance is better described as ‘embedded intergovernmentalism’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • EU integration
  • Embedded intergovernmentalism
  • Energy Union
  • energy governance
  • energy policy
  • new intergovernmentalism

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