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The Energy Community of Southeast Europe: A neo-functionalist project of regional integration

Keywords: energy policy , governance , enlargement , Europeanization , neo-functionalism , regulation , integration theory , international regimes , regional development , European Commission , political science

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This paper explains the emergence of the Energy Community of Southeast Europe with (1) the European Union’s external energy policy, (2) the specific regional approach of the EU at the Western Balkans and (3) the neo-functionalist ideas of those European Commission officials that were crucially involved in the process. The guiding ideas of the Commission officials involved were directly drawn from a 'popular version' of neo-functionalism: the idea that peace can be established with integration starting in a highly technical area and with creating the institutional capacity for a possible spill-over into other areas. Through this export of the EU’s rules and institutions in the energy sector the Energy Community represents an innovative new mode of governance in Southeast Europe.


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