To Be or Not to Be a European Energy Union: Drivers of European Energy Policy from a Historical Institutionalist Perspective
(viva completed in December 2019)
Professor Chad Damro & Dr Carmen Gebhard
My research analyses the driving factors of European energy policy towards a European Energy Union and a deeper level of integration. Utilising a Historical Institutionalist approach this research project will answer the question under what conditions does integration occur in the field of energy?
Energy is of vital importance to the economy of the European Union (EU), safeguarding stability and prosperity for its Member States and citizens. Energy policy was enshrined as a cornerstone in the EU's founding treaties, through the European Coal and Steel Community and the Euratom Treaty. However, energy policy has suffered from limited and shallow integration since then, with the first measures to integrate the policy area implemented 40 years after the foundation of the EU. Legal provisions deploying a comprehensive approach have not yet become reality, rendering weak coherence of the acquis communautaire visible. Whether inefficiencies of policy measures to complete the internal market, or gas disputes between third country suppliers jeopardising the security of supply, the EU faces a multitude of challenges regarding energy policy. Within this context, the Commission took an ambitious stance and proposed an umbrella institution to embrace the various dimensions of energy policy: the European Energy Union. In spite of these ambitions, diverging national preferences over the nature of Member States’ respective energy policy make it challenging to achieve the proposed goals. This thesis aims to assess the factors and mechanisms that lead to integration in the field of energy including both internal and external dimensions. It assesses under what premises legislative proposals for the Energy Union were made, identifying critical junctures deploying possibilities for institutional change and determining which key players were detrimental in formulating policy proposals. The research project looks at the way initial steps might have led to subsequent integration and how the rationale underpinning the ultimate goal to form a common Energy Union might have shaped developments in this policy area. In order to achieve this, it will utilise Historical Institutionalism as a theoretical tool and combine it with rational choice and sociological approaches to the study of institutions.
2020; PhD in Politics, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2013; MSc in International Relations, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2011; Bakk. phil. (B.A.) in Communication Sciences, Vienna, Austria
2017(June-September) - guest researcher at the Webster Vienna Private University
2018 - UACES Scholarship 2018
Publications, conference papers and blogposts
Versolmann, I. & McEwen, N. (2020), ‘Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action: UK and Scottish Energy Policy following EU Exit’, Working Paper, ESRC Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh
Versolmann, I. (2020), ‘The governance of energy and climate policy after EU-Exit. An inextricable quandary or a Gordian knot?’ European Futures Blog, Edinburgh Europa Institute
Versolmann, I. (2019), Book review: The Dynamics of EU External Energy Relations: Fighting for Energy, by Dr Francesca Batzella.
Versolmann, I. (2017), ‘The Energy Union – an inevitable outcome or political predicament?’, 47th annual UACES conference, 4-6 September 2017, Krakow, Poland.
Versolmann, I. (2016), ‘Decision 994/2012 and Beyond: Assessing the Driving Factors of Integration in the field of External Energy Policy’, 46th annual UACES conference, 5—7 September 2016, Queen Mary University of London.
Teaching & Research Activities
Lead Research: project on energy policy in Scotland / UK after EU Exit, ESRC Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh (February to May 2020)
EU as Global Actor, University of Edinburgh (2017-2018)
International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond, University of Edinburgh (2016-2019)
Senior Tutor in Comparative Politics in a Globalised World, University of Edinburgh (2019-2020)
Introduction to Politics & International Relations, University of Edinburgh (2016-2019)
Study Skills, University of Edinburgh (2016-2019)
Research Assistant of the MSc in International and European Politics, Convener Dr Chad Damro, University of Edinburgh; organisation and coordination of the annual Brussels trip (2018-2020)
Project Manager for a Horizon 2020 funding for Dr Chad Damro, University of Edinburgh (2016-17)
Research Assistant for Dr Carmen Gebhard, University of Edinburgh (2016)
Relevant Work Experience
2009-2012; Journalist & Writer, Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF)
- Indepth-research; creation, investigation, development of features;
- Interviewing on and off camera; filming & post production;
- Writing scripts, articles and maintaining OTS press releases; policy briefs
- Public engagement; social media and online strategies
Member of UACES, Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies
Member of the Europa Institute, University of Edinburgh
International Relations Research Group, University of Edinburgh
Europa Research Group, University of Edinburgh