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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Francesca Batzella

Francesca Batzella
Francesca Batzella
Politics and International Relations School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
European Union, European Integration, EU Energy Policy, EU external relations, European Commission, Academic teaching

PhD Title

Faithful agent or independent actor? The European Commission in the external dimension of EU Energy Policy

Research project

My research project explores the relationship between the European Commission and the Member States in the external dimension of the EU internal energy market. 

Adopting the Principal Agent Model (PAM) of delegation, my thesis looks at the Member States as principals and the Commission as their agent. Conceptualising preferences as specific policy choices on which the actors might agree or disagree, the thesis aims to account for the various shades of post-delegation agent behaviour.

The study investigates under what conditions the Commission would try to deviate from the preferences of the Member States. The thesis suggest that the Commission’s deviation from the preferences of the Member States is affected by the preference alignment among the Member States and the preference alignment between the Member States and the Commission.  

The analysis is conducted across four case studies dealing with internal EU legislation and with the creation of an integrated energy market with third countries.


Since 2016: Lecturer in Politics and IR, School of Law, University of Hertfordshire


2015, PhD, The University of Edinburgh

2010, Master Degree in International Relations, University of Cagliari (Italy)

2007, Bachelor in Politcal Science, University of Cagliari (Italy)


From September 2011 to September 2014 my PhD was funded by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia through the Programme Master and Back


Book reviews

Book review. Goldthau, Andreas and Sitter, Nick. 2015. A Liberal Actor in a Realist World: The European Union Regulatory State and the Global Political Economy of Energy” in Global Policy, (10 December 2015).

Blog articles

EU Energy Union: Is There Anything New Under the Sun? in European Futures, (17 December 2015).

Conference Papers

Where the internal and the external dimension meet. The role of the European Commission in EU energy policy, Paper presented at the UACES CRN EU Energy Policy Inaugural Workshop, 25-26 June 2015,University of East Anglia;

Between faifthfulness and independence. Explaining the agent behaviour, Paper presented at the workshop “Use and limitations of the principal-agent model in studying EU politics”, 23-24 April 2015 – University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve);

Secure and also Lawful? A Trade-Off between Security of Supply and Compliance with Union Energy Law, Paper presented at the ECPR Conference, Glasgow 3-6 September 2014 (see abstract)

Beating a Dead Horse? The European Commission and the EU External Energy Policy, Paper presented at the 44th UACES Annual Conference, Cork, 1-3 September 2014 (see abstract)

EU External Relations in the Energy Sector. Which Role for the Commission? A Principal-Agent Analysis presented at UACES 43rd Annual Conference, Leeds, 2-4 September 2013

When the cat is away the mice will play. Can a Principal-Agent approach explain EU external relations in the energy sector? presented at 14th Annual UACES Student Forum Research Conference, Loughborough, 8-9 July 2013

PRIN 2008 Convegno Nazionale di Studi "All'ombra della bomba. Una storia politica delle applicazioni civili e militari dell'energia nucleare", Cagliari (Italy), 7-10 Novembre 2012


Other activities

UACES, Member

UACES Collaborative Research Network on European Energy Policy

UACES (Student Forum committee member, July 2013- November 2014)

Europa Research Group

PIR PGR Peer Mentor System

PhD Student Representative for Politics and IR (2012/2013)