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Title: Europeanisation of the Southern Gas Corridor : assessing the institutional dimension of EU energy security
Author: Abbasov, Faig G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 9031
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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This PhD offers an original assessment of the EU policies aimed at developing the institutional structures of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), focusing in particular on the attempted Europeanisation of energy governance in the SGC countries: Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Underpinned by Rational-Choice Institutionalism and its mid-range adaption – the External Incentive Model – the PhD rests on two levels of analyses: one describing EU ambitions in this policy domain and the other assessing the empirical success of those ‘Europeanising’ ambitions. At the first level, the PhD describes the ways in which the EU aims to liberalise access to the transit pipelines along the SGC in line with its own preferences. This means subjecting natural gas supply via the SGC to ostensibly “depoliticised” free-market dynamics, as opposed to political bargaining among the various state and non-state actors. In other words, EU policy endeavours to create a regulatory buffer zone in the EU neighbourhood, which would ensure "domestic level" safety in external energy supply. In tying third countries to the rules of its own making, the EU seeks to institutionalise its soft power vis-à-vis others, enabling it to influence the behaviour of actors without the coercive use of military and/or economic means. At the second level of analysis, the PhD argues that such endeavours have been largely unsuccessful. In the absence of EU membership prospects or membership aspirations, the net domestic adoption costs in the target SGC countries explain the failure of the Europeanisation strategy in Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. These domestic costs stem from the SGC countries' rational national interest in controlling the supply and transit of natural gas from, to and across their sovereign territories in order to further national strategic and/or economic ends. Such interests are intrinsically incompatible with the EU's conception of competitive and depoliticised energy supply and transit. Consequently, the PhD demonstrates that the SGC will continue to be influenced by the geopolitical and (geo)economic motivations/interests of the transit states concerned, which will render the EU supply of natural gas via this corridor uncompetitive and politicised; and from the EU perspective, potentially insecure.
Supervisor: Parker, Owen ; Vickers, Rhiannon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available