The Nabucco Project: implications for the EU strategic energy review
Energy is a key issue of this year’s European political agenda. Article 194 (1) of the Lisbon Treaty states that the Union energy policy will aim – amongst others things – to “ensure the functioning of the energy market,” “ensure security of energy supply in the Union” and “promote the interconnection of energy networks”. Article 194 (2) declares that the European Parliament and the Council will “establish the measures necessary to achieve the objectives in paragraph 1”. The development of a Southern Gas Corridor has also been declared in the 2nd EU Strategic Energy Review to be essential to EU energy needs. Energy projects in South- Eastern Europe, the Caspian and the Middle East, which used to be hampered by regional conflicts, are now facing the additional challenge of the global economic crisis. The signature of the Intergovernmental Accord for the Nabucco project was a positive step and a success of the last European Trio Presidency, yet much remains to be done. A strong European energy strategy would not only limit the scope for individual member state energy strategies and provide a clear example of European solidarity towards smaller member states and the rest of the world; it would also increase the probability that crucial projects such as the Nabucco are realised. Such a success would increase EU legitimacy in foreign policy-making, which is all the more useful as the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty come into force.