Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Estonia, generally considered a Europhile country, is showing the first signs of opposition to supranational European Union (EU) policies. This is because the EU's energy- and climate policy's trinity of policy directions---creation of an internal market, security of supply and environmental sustainability---are problematic in regard to the the case of Estonian electricity sector. The Estonian actors' response to adaptational pressures caused by the EU, a process that is generally understood as Europeanization, thus provides us with a useful case study to determine what conditions limit the EU's attempts to influence domestic politics. Research indicates that the main reason for Estonian opposition is the country's historical legacy in the form of the oil shale complex that was built during the Soviet rule. The small size of the Estonian electricity market, the relative poverty of the state and the inability of the politicians to decide for the future development of the sector have been identified as factors that along with the historical legacy continue to influence Estonian domestic energy- and climate policy. Because of this complex interdependence of factors, the EU's aims to create an open internal market and to increase environmental sustainability cannot be achieved without threatening the security of Estonia's domestic electricity supply. This, in turn, is because the EU-wide policy has been driven by states, such as Germany, France and United Kingdom that have not taken into account the peculiar conditions in the EU's Eastern borderlands. This, in turn, has led Estonia to use the energy security "clause" to gain support on the EU- level and to defend its interests.
Ehastu, Madis, "Europeanization of the Estonian Electricity Sector: Historical Legacies and Security Concerns" (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 729.