The European Union's (EU) external energy policy has been steadily taking shape since the mid-2000s. EU authorities appear to have even taken on functions that could be classified as ‘energy diplomacy’, i.e., the use of foreign policy means to secure access to foreign energy supplies. With the aim of gauging and accounting for these developments, this article undertakes a double analytical move, one conceptual and one theoretical. Conceptually, it distinguishes between energy governance and energy diplomacy as tools for better comprehending the type and scope of policy change. Theoretically, it draws on discursive institutionalism to examine how and why policies change (or endure) by looking at the role of ideas in two dimensions of social action that are not often analysed side by side: policy discourses and policy practices. The article illustrates the practical relevance of this distinction through empirically examining the EU's promotion of diversification of natural gas supplies.
- EU external relations
- Energy policy
- MEMBER STATES
- discursive institutionalism diplomacy