A Theoretical Framework for Energy Security Through Discourse Essay
The current chapter presents the theoretical framework for the thesis and a method for the analysis - A Theoretical Framework for Energy Security Through Discourse Essay introduction. The central question of the paper regards the evolution of the EU and Estonian energy security discourses and the implications for the EU governance models in the changing global conditions. For many years, studies of Europe have focused on the internal processes of integration and enlargement. Nevertheless, in the context of growing global challenges and the need for innovative solutions for gaining the competitive advantage signalled that there is a need to turn attention to external developments and to the internal changes simultaneously.
This chapter will introduce some analytical perspectives which will help to examine developments in the sphere of energy security and linkages between the internal and external dynamics of the EU. 2. 1. Discourse analysis In order understand the political change, one must study the vocabularies in which such changes and their causes, desirable as well as undesirable futures are discussed, argued and opposed. These vocabularies are embedded in the texts, speeches, and negotiations of the actors.
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The political change is usually accompanied by the adjustments in the vocabulary used by actors, since interests, stakes, dependencies and connections are all under discussion. The developments in the environment affect the behaviour of actors, which in turn cause changes in meanings. Discourse analysis helps to understand the political environment in which through examining and revealing the meanings. According to Maarten Hajer and Wytske Versteeg, the novelty of discourse analysis in political science lies in studying the world through language, where language not only creates a picture, but shapes the views of actors.
Discourse analysis stresses the importance of meanings, and how these meanings are reflected through language and construction of social realities. It provides the opportunity to observe the linkages between the interactions that might seem unrelated when applying other approaches common in the political science. Additionally, discourse analysis allows a detailed examination of the formation and the development of changes of actors’ preferences and interests instead of treating these as variables external to this process.
Diez emphasizes, that meanings and ideas are embedded in the political discourses and various discourses are tied together through the interactions of actors. Diez also adds that in the political environment, discourses evolve through deliberative practices, in which actors are engaged in the act of establishing set meanings in discourses. This means that the central discourses, such as discourse on European governance, entail a number of other discourses, the articulation of which (through political texts, speeches, regulations) is a helpful indicator of rules and norms between the actors.
Based on the arguments just outlined, discourse analysis is the appropriate method for addressing the central question of the present thesis and will be used as a lens to study the evolution of energy security discourses. Nevertheless, discourse analysis does not provide the theory for further studies. To provide a framework for the discussion of how and under what conditions policy changes occur, I will now present and consider some theoretical approaches which address the relations between the EU and its member states. 2. 2.
The concept of and analytical approaches to the EU governance The conceptualization of the term ‘governance’ is essential in understanding the environment in which actors interact and the discourses evolve. Mark Webber et al. argue that ‘governance’ as a concept has been used in the academic literature so often and in so many different ways that its analytical precision has been blunted. Governance is defined by Webber et al. as “the maintenance of collective order, the achievement of collective objectives, and the collective processes of rule through which order and goals are sought. Therefore, in this thesis, the concept of ‘governance’ will be used in the context of the conglomeration of norms, ideas and practices of the actors which construct the political structure. According to Webber et al, as well as, Buzan et al, governance structures have a hierarchical institutionalized dimension. The actors within the structure grant the authority to the institutions they trust and choose to obey. Rod Rhodes, in his work on theorizing the problems of governance, outlines that it is not possible to discuss the problems of governance without further specification of its sphere.
From the early 90s, the problems of ‘governance’ have been mostly discussed within the schools of political science. The enlargement of the EU and the increasing interdependence of the member states triggered the academic interest towards the distinct structures of the European governance. In this light, a number of analysts began to address the question of how should the relations between the member states and the European institutions be examined in the framework of EU governance. Some emerging approaches for considering these relations will be discussed in the sections below. . 3. 1. Top-down and bottom-up approaches to the EU governance There are numerous approaches to study the issues of European governance and the relations between its actors. Some analysts use top-down approaches and others bottom-up approaches in addressing questions concerning power relations between the EU and its member states. According to Radaelli, the top-down approach was developed in the 1980s, and it remained persistently present in academic research until the end of the 1990s.
He argues that this approach was commonly used before the several enlargements of the EU and these studies focused on unidirectional change and on the implementation of European policies. The main focus of this line of studies was on the influence of the EU level on its member states and their compliance. Radaelli argues that generally, top-down approach studied how the member states organized their European business in response to the pressure from the EU.
The clear distinction between the ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches was made only in 2000, when Tanja Borzel and Thomas Risse argued that the previous approaches to studying EU governance were outdated and did not take into account developments on the national level. According to the authors, the top-down studies only examined the effects of the EU contribution, but neglected the autonomous bottom-up forces, such as the initiatives for integration deriving from national authorities.
The bottom-up approach starts from the domestic level on which ‘responses to the EU’ and political changes are often driven by a pressure to adapt to regulations coming from the EU level. Grabbe and Radaelli criticize some findings of Borzel and Risse by claiming that in the interactions with the EU, the pressure to adapt is not always present, and that it is wrong to assume that actors act only in response to such pressure. The top-down and bottom-up approaches concentrate only on one level, ignoring the influences that might come from the other.
Both approaches do not allow detailed study on the process of political change in the system of governance. Even if the bottom-up approach focuses on the initiatives of the member states directed towards Brussels, responses to the changes on the EU level remain unaddressed. Additionally, top-down and bottom-up approaches presume the presence of the EU’s pressure on the national level. To generalise, these discussed approaches lack the aspect of interactivity between levels and therefore are not suitable for addressing the central question of the present thesis. . 3. 2. Interactive approaches to the EU governance Some analysts address the problems of the EU governance from the interactive perspective and examining an open method of coordination, negotiation, networking, peer-reviews and learning. One distinctive feature of such interactive studies of EU governance is that the multi-levelled governance perspective, which allows observing changes in the several levels simultaneously. In analytical terms, interactive approach lies between the ‘soft power’ and the hierarchical decision making perspective.
The advocates of the interactive approaches argue that in such system of European governance, the actors on the national level are given the autonomy not only to implement rules, but also to propose changes. Actors in cooperation with each other establish the performance metrics and policy practices. The role of the EU level is to stimulate the coordination and policy deliberation practices between the members themselves and the Commission for achieving best practices and convergence in the European common priorities.
Therefore, interactive approach serves as a good example of overcoming the limitations of models exclusively focusing on vertical interactions. One example of such multi-levelled approach is discussed by Charles Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin. Authors outline that the EU has developed the eccentric architecture of governance, which is established by joint action of the member states and EU institutions. Sabel and Zeilin emphasize the importance of deliberative space and negotiation practices, which lead to mutual transformations of actors and joint policy formation.
Since this thesis focuses on the relations between the EU and the Eastern European member states, it is important to consider how Sabel and Zeitlin consider such interactive model in terms of new member states. In this light, authors point out that due to the constraints in the capabilities of the accessing countries, EU exclusively gained higher regulative authority than it possesses in the relations with its Western members. Therefore, according to the authors, the contribution and participation of the accessing member states in the EU governance system differed from the practices of ‘the West’.
To operationalize the claim above, Sabel and Zeitlin discuss some factors which outline the authority of the EU in the interactions practises during the accession period of 2004: * The deliberation process between the EU and the candidate states was limited by the acquis communautaire framework. * The accession candidates were seeking to comply with the admission requirements. * The prospect of the EU membership motivated the widespread governance reforms. * Not only did the enlargement of 2004 influence the political practices of ‘new’ member states, but also promoted the reciprocal practice exchange between the EU and national levels.
The authors emphasise that these features are often overlooked in other approaches, yet these had an important influence on the deliberation and coordination practices between the EU and the Central and the Eastern European states. Sabel and Zeitlin also refer to the accession as a period of mutual transformation, which were triggered by the changed environment and need for adaptation both on the EU as well as the national levels. It is further assumed, that some of these factors might have influenced the deliberation and coordination practices between the EU and the national levels even after the accession.
Yet, the authors do not specify how the interactions and the mutual transformation of the EU and the new member states have developed after the enlargement negotiations. 2. 3. 3. Applying the discourse method of analysis to an interactive approach of governance The process of interactions between the levels of EU governance is not mechanical. Hence, in order to understand the interactions and deliberation practices between actors, one has to consider the textual constructions which frame the political environment. Interactive models provide a framework for analysing the relations between actors on several levels simultaneously.
Such framework of EU governance provides terms and connections that have to be looked for when studying political texts. As it is important to understand how the interactions and negotiations are perceived by the actors in the real practices, the meanings assigned such practices have to be analysed. More particularly, whether the political texts contain references to policy coordination practices between the levels and whether actors perceive mutual transformation through the references to negotiations, lobby or policy adjustment practices through which actors perceive the relevance on influence on each other.
Political texts could reveal how the developments and changes in various sectors of the member states are perceived on the EU level. At the same time, discourses also allow to study responses of the local levels to the EU policy coordination activities, which can be outlined through examples of compliance, deliberation or even political resistance. In this light, discourse analysis allows examining how the European and national level policy practices co-evolve, are adjusted to each other and what are the responses to any changes on both levels in the interactive governance framework.
Since the meaning of terms used is essential for understanding the political environment, the concept of energy security must be first introduced. 2. 3. Conceptualizing energy security Sabel and Zeitlin use the energy sector as an example, where democratic and deliberative methods of policy coordination can be applied. In the framework of the EU governance the European Commission, has emphasized the interconnectedness between the actors in the system of European governance.
Therefore, the political choices of one can influence other actors in the system. As it was noted before, the priorities and choices of the actors can be viewed through the meaning which is prescribed to the concepts. Hence, I suggest discussing how ‘energy security’ can be conceptualized. David Buchnan argues, in his studies on the problems of European energy security, that ‘energy security’ is defined as having adequate access to energy at reasonable prices. Barry Buzan et al. provide a more comprehensive definition for the concept.
They highlight that in traditional terms, ‘security’ refers to survival. However, by taking into consideration that the concept of ‘security’ can be applied to a wider scope of sectors, lack of security could signify a risk to sovereignty or in more broad terms, threat to undermining rules, norms and institutions within the system. Buzan et al. outline, that in discursive terms ‘securitization’ signifies the increase in the political significance and requirement of additional measures in the sphere under consideration.
Based on the line of arguments just presented, in this thesis, the concept of energy security will be treated as a reference to the threat to the energy sector, which is persistent or even recurrent, and undermines not only the collective actions within the sector, but also the welfare of the Union. The energy sector is a part of the broader framework of the EU governance structure. The way the security problems are labelled on the various levels of the EU governance structure, is closely related to how the actors involved perceive their general relationship with each other.
Interactions between actors and the unity in perception of goals of the Union are essential for achieving internal and external goals. At this point it is appropriate to ask, how the behaviour of actors in the international arena and the discourses these actors produce connect. 2. 4. Energy security in the time of global challenges The scarcity of energy resources in Europe, the environmental concerns and the high dependence on the energy imports have triggered the emergence of European discourse on energy security.
Some reports, including ‘Europe 2020’ and ‘Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World’ outline, the diffusion of the authority of power and the emergence of new political and economic actors in the international arena, which draw attention to the, intensifying global challenges. According to Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard, the changing geopolitical map increases the degree of global uncertainty and forces Europe to search for its competitive advantage on the international arena. Sheila Jasanoff and Sang-Hyin Kim argued that changing external environment can influence the visions and expectations of the future that ought to be attained.
In this light, the EU has projected the formula for global success – energy sufficiency and rapid technological innovation will trigger economic growth which in turn increases the global competitiveness of the EU. Nevertheless, the changing global order has posed some challenges to the European space. The geopolitical map, which rapidly changed in the beginning of 90s, triggered the changes in power relations and redistribution of resources not only in Europe, but worldwide.
Rapidly changing international environment pressures Europe both politically and economically. Moreover, growing technological ambitions increase the demand for energy world-wide. The ‘Europe 2020’ report emphasises that, in the context of global environment, the European states should be looking for energy self-sufficiency. With regard to European energy concerns, Europe’s, dependency on Russia is increasing. This could be an alarming notion. According to Andrei Belyi, there have been several cases when states have used energy to influence other countries.
For example, Russia has initiated energy conflicts several times, which threatened the security of European energy supplies. Such examples will receive greater attention in the empirical chapters of this thesis. The changing global environment and behaviour of the EU neighbours cause Europe to alter its energy policies. Yet, the EU member states, according to their capabilities and objectives in the energy sector, react differently to external threats. To formulate overarching European energy objectives, policy coordination between the EU and national energy policies is required.
This need is also emphasised in the speech by the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso: “The member states need higher degree of convergence in their actions for the European Union to be able to assert its interest on the international arena. Barroso implies that diversity between the policy levels is acceptable in the system of the European governance. However, since the changing global environment triggers shifts in the behaviour of actors within the European system of governance, the EU has to aim for convergence in conceptual policy questions.
Therefore, the energy security discourse on the EU level has to be understood and accepted on the national level and vice-versa: the European level should reflect the main security concerns of the member states in the context of changing international conditions. To determine which energy security problems have converged or diversified in relation to the changing external environment, the method of discourse analysis will be employed to the energy policy texts on the national and EU level. 2. 5. Methodology and scope
This chapter introduces the theoretical framework for the empirical analysis. The principles of the interactive approach to the EU governance will provide an analytical background for studying the policy changes and perceptions of interactions between the EU and national levels. Due to the limitations of this thesis, the scope of analysis is narrowed to the EU and Estonian levels. This method can only be applied to analyse the perception of interactions through texts, and will not allow outlining the negotiation and coordination practices per se.
In order to examine the discursive evolution between the EU and national levels, similarities and differences between discourses and the possible reasons of their occurrence will be outlined. The empirical findings are based on detailed reading of EU and Estonian energy policies, as well as on energy policies and interviews with Estonian energy sector experts. The method of discourse analysis will be applied to the chapters 3 and 4. The analysis of the EU energy discourses will be based on five White and Green papers of the European Commission published from 1985 – 2006, used as the primary sources.
The Commission has not published further White or Green Paper dedicated to the energy issues later than 2006. The White and Green papers have been selected over other EU policy sources for the coherency of the discourse analysis. In addition, secondary sources, such as the EU reports and academic accounts will be used to provide contextual evidence for the analysis. Discourse analysis will be also applied in chapter 4 to investigate the Estonian energy policies between 2004 and 2009 will be used in addition to the interviews from experts of Estonian energy sector.
Seven interviews have been collected in May 2011. The small size of the sample is restricted to the low number of energy sector experts in Estonia. Yet, these interviews accounts provide the invaluable contributions for the empirical findings of this thesis. The list of interviewees with brief profiles can be found in Appendixes. In the concluding chapter, the empirical evidence from chapter 3 and chapter 4 will be analysed to elaborate to the central focus of this thesis. 2. 6. Conclusion This chapter presented a number of considerations regarding the theoretical background of the analysis that follows.
Special concepts and meanings which are embedded into political texts, outline the relations between actors and their perceptions about the desirable and undesirable features of the political environment. The discursive change reflects the adjustments in policy objectives and also in the relations between actors. Yet, discourse analyses have to be used in an analytical framework, which provides specifications to the meanings used. In this chapter some approaches for conceptualizing the European system for interactions have been discussed.
Interactive approach considers the complex multi-level EU governance system, in which interactions of actors allow their mutual transformations. Sabel and Zeitlin discuss one such interactive model and outline some factors which should be considered when analysing the EU and Eastern and Central European states during their accession. In order to understand how interactive approaches of the EU governance surface in the political practices between the EU and Eastern and Central European states, I have suggested applying the method of discourse analysis to the study of the EU and Estonian energy security policies.
In terms of addressing the central question these political texts will help to reveal how the EU and national energy policies have evolved, have been adjusted and how the actors respond to such changes in the context of intensifying global conditions.