Energy has been a central feature of the EU since inception as the European Coal and Steel Community in the 1950s. In this working paper, Joseph Dutton, UKERC Researcher and Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter, examines the history - and analyses its implications.

Energy has been a central feature of the EU since inception as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the 1950s. A mainstay of successive policies has been to introduce ‘singularity’ in to the sphere of energy at different scales – for example, from a narrow central pooling of physical resources, as with the ECSC, to much broader attempts at introducing a liberalised single market place for gas and electricity, and proposals for a single gas buyer mechanism under the 2015 Energy Union framework. These moves were typically internal responses to external events, such as the Arab oil embargoes or geopolitical tension between Russia and eastern European countries. To achieve the goal of a single internal energy market policies have sought to remove or reduce the friction placed on cross-border trade, governance and regulation of energy by often contradictory and conflicting national policies of member states. This has taken the form of specific and targeted pieces of legislation aimed at technical harmonisation, as well as wide-reaching sets of policies to overhaul entire sectors and governance and regulatory practice across all member states.

A recently published working paper written by Joseph Dutton of the University of Exeter Energy Policy Group as part of the Energy systems at multiple scales programme sets out the path along which EU energy policy has moved since the initial creation of the organisation in the 1950s, detailing the principle documents and legislation upon which the current and proposed policies were constructed.