Energetická Politika Evropské Unie [Energy Policy of the European Union]

By Misík, Matús | International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs, July 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Energetická Politika Evropské Unie [Energy Policy of the European Union]


Misík, Matús, International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs


Energetická politika Evropské unie [Energy policy of the European Union] By Filip Cernoch, Veronika Zapletalová, Brno: Muni Press, 2012. 155 p. ISBN: 978-80-210-B073-9

For several years now, energy policy has been one of the main topics for policymakers. After two problem-free decades, an increase in demand and prices during the 2000s, "energy weapon" challenges, problems with supply and similar issues, have brought about a change in the views of decision-makers on energy. At the EU level, energy has become of key importance, especially since the 2009 gas crisis. However, this crucial position of energy within the national economy was only partially reflected within the academic literature, and apart from a number of books published in 1990s and 2000s the subject did not receive great attention before the gas crisis. The situation is even more complicated in the case of the Czech Republic and (especially] Slovakia, where academic interest in energy policy issues at the EU level (and also at the national level] is only in its nascent phase. This book by Filip Cernoch and Veronika Zaplatalová, Energy policy of the European Union, is trying to shed some light on the energy policy at the EU level and thus contribute to our understanding of the topic.

It must be stated first of all that the book represents one of the very first complex publications in the Czech Republic or Slovakia (to the best knowledge of the reviewer] exclusively dealing with the energy policy of the EU. Previous publications dealing with energy were focused only partially on the EU level, and were concerned also with energy at the level of member states or global energy issues. Thus, in spite of several shortcomings mentioned in this review, the book represents a very important step in discussions in both countries on energy policy within the EU. This is one of the principal reasons for the book's being worth reading.

The book is also a very good introduction to the energy policy of the EU. It touches upon the main energy related issues, but on the other hand does not aspire to provide an exhaustive treatment of the topic. As stated by the authors in several places, it is a textbook intended for students and those members of the "public interested in the topic" (p. 139], This is also a limitation of the book; in this reviewer's opinion, however, this fact does not decrease its value.

The authors have divided the book into an Introduction and four subsequent chapters. Each of the subsequent chapters deals with one aspect of EU energy policy. The first chapter analyzes the development of EU energy policy since the beginning of European integration. The second deals with internal energy policy, the third with environmental issues, and the fourth with external energy policy. This division - between internal and external energy policy and environmental issues - is made on the basis of a strategic document of the European Commission (p. 35). Gn the one hand, the division reflects the way the Commission views the issue; on the other hand, the document does not create a common energy policy, and it is not quite clear how environmental issues fit into this framework. This is not to say that the division is inaccurate, rather that more explanation is needed to improve the argument. One of the shortcomings of the book is that there are only very brief conclusions to every section or chapter, and the authors do not summarize the main points or arguments that would help readers (students] remember the main issues. Moreover, the book lacks a final Conclusion at the end.

The authors do not address one of the main issues in the area of energy at the EU level: whether there is common, harmonized EU energy policy or not. The Lisbon treaty uses the term "EU policy on energy" - and not "EU energy policy" - which is probably meant to stress the current state of affairs, in which there is no harmonized policy at the EU level comparable to a common agricultural policy or other similar common policy. …

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