Exporting the Energy Acquis: The External Agenda Shaping Power of the EU


Governance mechanism

EnC rewards (demand-side perspective)

EnC reinforcement (supply-side perspective)


Coercion, hierarchy

Conditionality, cooperative reputation

Institutional evolvement (lock-in), monitoring and enforcement

Markets and investments

Competition, capacity building

Efficiency gains, market access, investments, financial aid, security of supply (diversification), sustainability (clean technology)

Investments, financial aid


Socialisation, persuasion

Expertise, norms and values

Regular communication, expertise and best practise, draft legislation

Source Own compilation based on Lavenex and Schimmelfennig (2009), Börzel and Risse (2012), Padgett (2012)

4.3.3 Policy Frames

External governance mechanisms are particularly suitable for explaining third states’ diverging responses to EU rules. But what about common patterns or variance across policies? This section contends that a framing perspective which identifies the frames that can be attached to policies can improve our understanding of such patterns or cross-policy variance.

The framing of issues is fundamental to the process of public policy making. It influences each stage of the policy process from issue initiation to final legislative enactment (Rochefort and Cobb 1994). Framing is about creating or changing the terms in which an issue or problem is defined or about emphasising or deemphasising certain aspects of problems in order lend them to particular solutions. Political actors can make strategic use of frames in order to structure the political conflict in their favour. More precisely, strategic actors can engage in framing by emphasising or reemphasising certain images in order to place issues on the agenda, to structure issues already on the agenda, or to keep certain issues off the agenda (Baumgartner and Jones 1991; Daviter 2007; Knill and Tosun 2012, pp. 102–103).

The relevant question for policy making is whether a frame can get enough attention and mobilise a sufficient number of actors to lift an issue on the institutional agenda and eventually to trigger a policy decision. Moreover, for issues to come onto the EU agenda, gaining attention is not enough. Actors also need to be convinced that the EU is the appropriate organisation to deal with the issue (Princen 2011). By contrast, EU external agenda shaping means that national policymakers in non-member states need to be convinced that an issue requires attention and that the EU’s policies are appropriate solutions to these issues. This can be achieved by making reference to known policy priorities and commitments, by reference to focussing event (see further below) as well as by linking issues to already existing EU policies or by claiming that joint action with the EU will produce mutual gains (Princen 2011, pp. 933–938).

In EU energy policy, the most basic frames relate to the policy field’s three dimensions, i.e. the economic, security, and environmental frame. As the salience of each frame has changed over time, it has given certain frames at times predominance over others and thereby left its mark on the EU energy policy agenda (see, e.g. Alexandrova and Timmermans in Chap. 3). For example the first successful steps towards the liberalisation of the European gas market were enabled by the competition frame, whereas the making of the third gas directive was heavily influenced by a reframing of energy policy as a security issue in the wake of eastern enlargement (see Herweg in Chap. 5; Brutschin in Chap. 10).

Issues or specific policies can also be framed in more than one way at the same time (see Tosun in Chap. 12). Frames do not exist in isolation but they can interact in meaningful ways. Successful policy adoption can therefore not only depend on the predominant frame but also on the number of different frames that are available in the process. Adding new dimensions to issues and establishing linkages across frames can thus be an important strategy to broaden the scope of debate and to increase the likelihood of successful agenda-setting and legislative action. The cross-sectional nature of energy policy offers plenty of opportunities for this (see Ciambra and Solorio in Chap. 8). For example, in the run-up to the 2007 spring European Council, the Commission has successfully aimed at ‘selling’ the completion of the internal energy market as a solution to both security and environmental problems (Eikeland 2011, p. 251). Di Lucia and Kronsell (2010) argue that EU policies are more likely to be implemented if the national frame matches the one at the EU level. Even though this study does not deal with implementation, the same argument can be made for policy adoption. Accordingly, the likelihood of successful external agenda shaping rises if the way(s) in which an EU policy is framed finds a correspondent in national discourse. Naturally, the likelihood of finding a correspondent should increase the more frames are attached to a given policy and linked with each other. All in all, we can expect that EU policies which can be framed in multiple ways will more likely end up on national agendas and lead to legislative action.

Closely related to the question about the role of frames for policy making is the question about the role of events. Extraordinary or “focussing” events (Birkland 2004) can offer new opportunities for actors to place issues on the agenda by defining a problem in a new or additional way, i.e. by emphasising or deemphasising an existing image or by adding other images to already existing ones. For example, the gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine mentioned earlier have contributed to successfully framing energy policy as a matter of security again (Buchan 2010). Of course, events can not only change agendas at the EU level, but they can also influence the way governments and other actors respond to EU policies. The security frame, for example, was particularly helpful for furthering compliance with EU energy policies in a number of Eastern member states (Tosun 2011).

4.4 Four EU Energy Policy Measures

Rather than focussing on the whole energy acquis or entire directives, this section examines whether third states have aligned their domestic energy legislation with four specific requirements from the EnC’s acquis on oil, gas, renewables and energy efficiency. The selected measures are: requirements for the holding of emergency oil stocks, the establishment of third party access to national gas markets, and the setting of targets for the use of biofuels and for energy savings (see Table 4.2). Focussing on entire directives would be difficult because they have undergone too many important changes and contain too many rules for assessment in a single comparative study. The selection of the four aforementioned policy measures aims at representing different sectors of energy policy and to acknowledge the growing scope of EU energy policy (see, e.g. Kanellakis et al. 2013; Biesenbender in Chap. 2).

Table 4.2
Timeline of four EU energy policies

Holding of emergency oil stocks

Third party access to gas markets

Targets for biofuel content

Targets for energy savings

Directive 68/414/EEC: stockholding for 65 days average daily internal consumption

Directive 72/425/EEC: stockholding for 90 days average daily internal consumption

Directive 73/238/EEC: specific measures to mitigate difficulties in oil supply

Directive 98/93/EC: stockholding for 90 days average daily internal consumption

Directive 98/30/EC: negotiated or regulated terms of access
Directive 93/76/EEC: no targets, but setup of programmes, e.g. on the energy certification of buildings, the billing of heating installations, energy audits

Directive 2006/67/EC: stockholding for 90 days of average daily internal consumption

Directive 2003/55/EC: regulated terms of access; implementation deadline: 2007 (Contracting Parties), 2009 (Moldova), and 2012 (Ukraine)

Directive 2003/30/EC: setup of national indicative targets, reference values of 2 percent by 2005 and 5.75 % by 2010 for all petrol and diesel for transport purposes placed on markets; no implementation deadline, but plans to be submitted by 2007

Directive 2006/32/EC: setup of overall national indicative energy savings target, reference value of 9 % by 2018; implementation deadline: 2011

2008 EnC Ministerial Council decision to include the oil sector and to implement Directive 2006/67/EC

Directive 2009/119/EC: adjustment to IEA rules, stockholding for 90 days of net imports or 61 days of inland consumption

Directive 2009/73/EC: regulated terms of access; implementation deadline: 2015

Directive 2009/28/EC: uniform mandatory national overall targets, share of energy from renewable sources in all forms of transport in 2020 at least 10 % of the final consumption of energy in transport

2012 EnC Ministerial Council adopts Directive 2009/119/EC, implementation deadline: 2023
2012 EnC Ministerial Council adopts Directive 2009/28/EC, Implementation deadline: 2014

Sources Buchan (2010), Energy Community Secretariat (2012, 2013), Tosun (2011, 2012), Tosun and Schulze (2013, 2015)

This study defines EU external agenda shaping success as the formal adoption of EU policy measures by non-member states. More precisely, successful agenda shaping refers to agenda-setting, agenda structuring, and agenda exclusion leading to legislative action. Of course, there are alternative ways to conceptualise external agenda shaping or agenda shaping success. External agenda shaping should be observed prior to the adoption of legislation, for example: by looking at preparatory acts, motions or speeches in the relevant bodies. This is usually achieved in detailed case studies or in comparative analyses that have undertaken large data collection efforts (see, e.g. Baumgartner et al. 2009; Jennings et al. 2011; Alexandrova and Timmermans in Chap. 3).6 The four policy measures under study are briefly introduced in the following. A summary is offered in Table 4.2.

Emergency oil stocks. The requirement to hold emergency oil stocks is the only item of the acquis on oil. Directive 2009/119/EC, accepted by the EnC Ministerial Council in October 2012, obliges the EnC members to hold emergency oil stocks equal to at least 90 days of net imports or 61 days of inland consumption during the preceding calendar year. The EU rules on emergency oil stocks have a long history that dates back as far as Council Directive 68/414/EEC, which first laid down the obligation to build up and maintain strategic oil stocks. Council Directive 72/425/EEC later raised the obligation for stocks from a 65 days equivalent of the daily internal consumption to a 90 days equivalent. Council Directive 98/93/EC developed and strengthened the existing provisions, but just like the replacing Directive 2006/67/EC, did not change the target for oil stockholding (see Table 4.2 and Tosun 2011, 2012 for an overview). In December 2008, the Ministerial Council decided that the EnC should also implement Directive 2006/67/EC.

Third party access to gas markets. The EU’s internal gas market is governed by Directive 2009/73/EC, which repealed Directive 2003/55/EC (which previously repealed Directive 98/30/EC). For the purpose of this study, I focus on one specific provision, i.e. Third Party Access (TPA) to transmission and distribution networks. Even though the internal gas market was already established by Directive 98/30/EC, the focus is on Directive 2003/55/EC because it first established regulated TPA, a provision that remains unchanged by Directive 2009/73/EC.7 Its implementation was expected by 1 July 2007 for the original Contracting Parties, by 31 December 2009 for Moldova, and by 1 January 2012 for Ukraine. Directive 2003/55/EC provides for the complete opening of national gas markets to competition in order to improve service quality, guarantee fair prices for consumers, establish rules on public service obligations, improve interconnection, and bolster the security of supply. The directive establishes the right of third parties to non-discriminatory access to transmission and distribution systems and to liquefied natural gas facilities. This way, new suppliers and even small ones can enter the market. For this purpose, fair competition conditions must be put in place to prevent dominant positions of traditional operators.

Biofuel contents. Directive 2003/30/EC on the promotion of biofuels is part of the acquis on renewables. According to the directive, conventional transport fuels should be partly substituted with biofuels derived from agricultural crops, notably biodiesel and bioethanol (Di Lucia and Kronsell 2010; Tosun and Schulze 2015). The focus here is on the directive’s requirement for setting up national indicative targets for all petrol and diesel for transport purposes placed on markets. In particular, the directive set the reference values at 2 % by 2005 and 5.75 % by 2010. Due to limited implementation success, the EU Commission requested in 2007 that a mandatory minimum target of 10 % for biofuels in the overall consumption of petrol and diesel in transport by 2020 must be set (European Commission 2007, p. 10). This request was incorporated in Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources setting mandatory national overall targets for the share of energy from renewable sources (not only from biofuels) in all forms of transport at 10 % by 2020. The obligation was taken over for the EnC Contracting Parties in October 2012 by Ministerial Council Decision 2012/04/MC-EnC. The analysis focusses on which EnC members adopted national biofuel targets in line with Directive 2003/30/EC, but without regard to the precise specifications of the targets.

Energy savings. The acquis on energy efficiency consists of three directives dealing with the labelling of energy-related products, the energy performance of buildings, and energy end-use efficiency and savings. The focus here is on the latter (Directive 2006/32/EC), which replaced Council Directive 93/76/EEC and requires, among other things, the adoption of a national indicative energy savings target of 9 % by 2018. The Contracting Parties have to submit National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAP) containing their targets and the measures taken to achieve the targets in 2007, 2011, and 2017. The present study counts the definition of any indicative target by national authorities as successful transposition, irrespective of the target’s exact specification, and therefore any attempt made by third states to approximate the relevant EU rules.

4.5 Patterns of External Agenda Shaping Success

This section reviews whether we can find (descriptive) evidence that the EU has been successful in shaping the EnC members’ and observers’ energy policy agendas.8 The focus is on the effects of (pre-)accession conditionality, i.e. the hierarchical mode of external governance. A separate analysis of market and network governance is beyond the exploratory scope if this study.9 Information on domestic rule adoption and alignment was compiled using the EnC Secretariat’s annual implementation reports, various academic and official sources as well as previous studies (Tosun 2012; Tosun and Schulze 2013, 2015). Table 4.3 summarises the patterns of policy adoption across the countries under study.10

Table 4.3
EU/EnC status and the adoption of four EU energy policies

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Oil stocks

Gas markets


Energy savings

Association agreement

EU application

EU candidate

EU negotiations

EnC member

EnC observer











FYR Macedonia