Rowman and Littlefield International

Beyond the EU Regulatory State

Energy Security and the Eurasian Gas Market

By Andrea Prontera

5 Reviews

This book closes an important gap in the literature and offers a fresh perspective on EU energy studies, and it will be an important contribution to the debate on the development of European integration and the EU’s role in international relations.

Hardback ISBN: 9781785523069 Release date: Aug 2019
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781785523076 Release date: Aug 2019
£24.95 €34.95 $38.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781785523106 Release date: Aug 2019
£24.95 €34.95 $39.95

Pages: 248


The EU’s growing dependence on natural gas and Russian resources, energy security has become a hot discussion topic in academia and in policy circles in Brussels, Washington and many European capitals. However, most of the books on the subject use a very descriptive and/or normative approach and very few attempt to theorise EU energy security outside of mainstream conceptualisations of the EU as an international actor.

This book closes an important gap in the literature and offers a fresh perspective on EU energy studies, and it will be an important contribution to the debate on the development of European integration and the EU’s role in international relations in the wake of the crisis in EU politics and in light of the EU’s increasingly complex external environment.

Due to its interdisciplinary features – the book combines EU studies, international affairs, political economy and energy studies – and the topics covered, this book will be of special interest to scholars of the international political economy of energy and to those interested in European politics and EU international relations.

List of Abbreviations

List of Figures and Tables



1. Introduction

Energy Security and International Relations: A Never-ending Story

EU Energy Security and the Eurasian Gas Market

Rethinking EU Energy Security and the EU’s Role in International Relations

Structure of the Book

2. Theorising EU Energy Security Beyond the Regulatory State: The EU as a Catalytic State

IPE and EU Energy Security

Forms of State and Their Evolution

Theorising EU Energy Security Beyond the Regulatory State

The EU as a Catalytic State: Actors, Frames and Policy Tools

3. Thinking Like a Catalytic State: From Faire-faire to Faire-avec

Framing and Reframing EU Energy Security

The Energy Pendulum: From State to Market and Back

Phase I (1980s–1990s): Faire-faire

Phase II (2000s–2010s): Faire-avec

4. Acting Like a Catalytic State (I): From Rule-maker to Facilitator

EU Energy Security and Large Infrastructure Projects

The New Politics of Pipeline and LNG in the Eurasian Gas Market

Policy Mixes and Public–Private Partnerships

The EU as a Facilitator

5. Acting Like a Catalytic State (II): From Market-building to Coalition-building

EU Energy Security and Energy Diplomacy

A New Regional Approach to Security of Supply

Network Diplomacy and the EU: Between the Internal and External Dimensions

Creating Markets or Coalitions?

6. Limits, Potentials and Implications of the EU Catalytic State

The Catalytic State and Its Powers

Towards a New Toolbox for the EU

Accountability and Effectiveness in the EU Catalytic State

7. Conclusions: A Complex Actor in a Complex World

Overcoming the Liberalism vs. Realism Debate

The EU Catalytic State and Its Place in the XXI Century International Political Economy

Catalytic Power Europe: Adaptation, Substitution and Pragmatism



Andrea Prontera is Assistant Professor of International Relations and EU Institutions and Policies, Department of Political Science, Communication and International Relations, University of Macerata, Italy.

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5 Reviews

Beyond the EU Regulatory State offers a fresh and compelling approach to conceptualizing the institutions of the European Union and understanding how they promote energy security. The catalytic state model developed here provides a welcome challenge to conventional approaches to characterizing the role of the EU and promises to find useful applications in other areas of European integration.

John S. Duffield, Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University

The book offers an analysis of European energy security policy going beyond the traditional realism vs. liberalism theoretical paradigm. It develops an innovative approach - focusing on the EU as Catalytic State - to investigate and understand the governance of energy policies at the European level, and in particular to assess the role of the EU as energy security actor in the regional and global scene.

Nicolò Sartori, Head of Programme, Energy, Climate & Resources, IAI, Istituto Affari Internazionali

Prontera makes good use of emergent lines of theorizing on the EU as a catalyst for integration processes both within the EU and beyond. The result is a new opening into research on EU energy security and EU external relations in general, conceptualizing the Union as a Catalytic Power Europe. Prontera shows how Catalytic Power Europe overcomes some of the limitations of alternative conceptualizations such as Normative Power Europe, Europe as a Regulatory State, and Europe as a Market Power. This approach is significant as studies on EU energy security often either lack any firm theory or utilize standard conceptions used by international organisations such as the International Energy Agency. As a result, the book situates itself firmly into the emerging literature on innovative approaches to energy security.

Of particular importance is how Prontera shows how the EU as a Catalytic Power not only builds and regulates the internal EU energy market, or the natural gas market that is Prontera’s focus, but also shapes the operating environment of companies and other actors within and beyond the EU. In this way EU institutions, chiefly the Commission, help to form coalitions where EU bodies interact with Member States, EU’s natural gas supplier states, energy companies within and beyond the Union, and so on. In other words, this book finds the EU not only the familiar market-maker, nor does it succumb to accusing the EU from lacking power in foreign economic relations, but rather, it analyses the EU as a facilitator. This observation has also important implications for our understanding of power in international relations and political economy.

Pami Aalto, Jean Monnet Professor (International Relations), Tampere University

In this original and innovative book, Prontera charts the EU’s shift from being a liberal 'regulatory' to a more interventionist ‘catalytic’ state. This is done through an in-depth and acute analysis of the EU’s external energy relations and how the EU’s concerns over energy security have gradually but surely embedded this more pro-active and interventionist approach.

Roland Dannreuther, Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations and Professor of International Relations, the University of Westminster

This is more than a reference book on energy security—it is a major contribution to understanding state-market relations, European integration and economic diplomacy in the 21st century. It is also unusual in building bridges across sub-disciplines and world-views. Rather than identifying tensions and contradictions, Prontera provides solutions: an original and constructive way to explain the hybridity of EU external energy policy.

Anna Herranz Surrallés, Assistant Professor in International Relations, Maastricht University

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