“Slovenia as a Stress Test of the EU’s External Dimension of Energy Policy: Case Studies of Russian and American Influence”, Danijel Crnčec and Ana Bojinović Fenko (CIR, Slovenia)

The article by Assist. Prof. Dr. Danijel Crnčec and Prof. Dr. Ana Bojinović Fenko (both from the Centre of International Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) focuses on Slovenia’s unique historical and geopolitical position, which makes the country a highly unusual EU (Central East European – CEE) member state and determines its stance on the EU’s energy policy with respect to the USA and Russia. The authors address the following research question: How does Slovenia balance between the EU energy policy framework and its particular national energy interests related to Russia and the USA? Conceptually, the article builds on the Europeanization of foreign policy applying the downloading path to Slovenian external energy policy via three indicators: the increasing salience of the European political agenda, adherence to common (EU) objectives, and internalization of EU membership and its integration process. It employs a method of statistical data and content analysis of documents and secondary sources within two case studies of energy projects, namely the South Stream involving Russia, and long-term use of nuclear energy for electricity production involving the USA. The results substantiate that Slovenia has managed to balance between its energy-related national interests and the EU energy framework by formulating and legitimizing the former within the EU policy framework. However, the second case reveals that the open EU legal framework on the member states’ choice of nuclear energy cooperatives is a notable limitation to Europeanization due to the tendency for interests in national foreign policy and domestic politics – both performed by the government – to drift away from general EU values. In the conclusion, the article identifies two important implications arising from the case of Slovenia as a stress test of the EU’s external dimension of energy policy.

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